May Editorial Winner

It's been a long time coming

Mike McCormick, Shawnee News-Star

THE ISSUE: Jim Thorpe Stadium project
OUR STANCE: Schools patrons deserved better

Finally, it looks like construction on the new high school track at Jim Thorpe Stadium will resume immediately, barring unforeseen, bad weather.
Maybe, just maybe, by the time the Shawnee Wolves take the field for the initial football contest of the 2011 season, the Jim Thorpe Stadium project will be completely done.
Sadly, the seniors who will walk across the stage at Raley Chapel tonight during commencement and received their diplomas will not have had the opportunity to enjoy the new track nor all the other renovations. The positive side, though, is those graduating a year from now should be able to utilize the facilities during their senior year.
Clearly, the patrons of the Shawnee School District have waited far too long for this project to be completed. By the time the track is finally done, it will be nearly six years since voters approved a $22.1 million bond issue and funding for a new track was included among the projects.
Something which continues to concern and disturb us, too, is the refusal by school board officials and the board's attorneys to release to the public a report which obviously had some bearing on the agreed settlement between the general contractor and the school district. This report has to be a public document because the findings were submitted to the school district in February of this year.
The public has a right to know what is contained in that report. This is another blatant attempt to prevent the school patrons of this district knowing what is the public's business.
Last fall, Shawnee's Board of Education the retained the law firm of Stuart, Clover, Duran, Thomas and Vorndran, LLP to review the ongoing dispute between the school district and the general contractor.
The law firm retained Dr. Chunhua Han, Ph.D., of Minneapolis, Minn., to analyze the construction of the track. It's Dr. Han's findings, for whatever reason, are not being released or made public, despite several requests from the News-Star. Also, details regarding the agreement have remained unanswered.
There seems to be a lot of mystery behind the report and the final agreement.
Haskell-Lemon Construction Co., according to information released by the law firm, has been hired by Homeland General Contractors to perform necessary repairs to the running track and to complete installation of the asphalt portions of the track.
The running surface will be installed by ATG Sports Industries, Inc. The repairs and installations will be performed at no additional cost to the local district, just as it should be.
The biggest positive to surface out of this is that the construction will resume, the district will have a new track and the Jim Stadium project finally will be completed.
It's been a long time coming, and in the future Shawnee school patrons deserve better. They've waited long enough

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