School board approves Whittell press box funding |

School board approves Whittell press box funding

by Rachel Spacek

Despite budget concerns, the Douglas County School District Board of Trustees approved the funding necessary to finish the press box and concession building at George Whittell High School stadium. The plans for the press box and concession stand require $122,281 from the board.

At their meeting on Tuesday, the school board heard a summary of the budget preparations. They were then asked to approve about a third of the maintenance budget for the press box update project at Whittell.

“We just talked in the last item about how we have a $300,000 budget and this is over a third of that,” said board member Robbe Lehmann. “This isn’t tier one or tier two or maybe even tier 50 and it is getting pushed to the top because we have to do it and I do not know if it is the best use of our money because we have a list of capital improvements.”

The board asked Whittell Principal Crespin Esquivel if they had reached out to the community or boosters to ask for donations for the project. He said they had gone to the boosters who said they would set aside some money to purchase any equipment for the new facilities, furnishings for the building itself, appliances for the concession building, tables, chairs.

Esquivel also said the boosters have committed to setting money aside for any upgrades needed for the project. He is still waiting to hear back from an alumni group about funding.

Several members of the board had concerns about the additional funding.

“We were 98 percent done with this thing and now we find out we are $122,281 out of balance,” said Ross Chichester, vice president of the board. “That should not happen this way. We should know that before or the project should be downsized. I know it has to be done, but it is not fair to the board or the community.”

Superintendent Teri White responded to concerns by explaining the initial press box came in well over budget and she asked the committee and contractor to downsize the project.

“I think given what they have to live with, codes and bathrooms and plumbing, this is what they came up with as the bottom line,” White said.

President of the board Thomas Moore said he also was concerned with coming up with the funds.

“On the other hand, I don’t think we have a whole lot of options,” he said. “I do support it.”

The board voted unanimously to approve the $122,281 for the press box and concession area.