Lakeland considers $36.5M high school

Lakeland-signCentral elements in the Nov. 9 Lakeland city board meeting were a presentation on a $36.5 million high school plan, establishment of a city court, and establishment of limits for less-desirable businesses.

By request, Lakeland School System Superintendent Dr. Ted Horrell provided an overview of build-out plans and estimated costs so the district can accommodate up to 1,800 students in grades 5-12. Currently, grades 9-12 are accommodated in the Arlington Community Schools district.

Making room for high school students would require adding an estimated 156,000 square feet on the campus where Lakeland Middle Preparatory School is. The current middle school is approximately 111,000 square feet.

The expanded facility would function as one school with one administration, not as separate middle and high schools, Horrell said.

He estimated that the expansion would require just over $27 million for the building and the rest of the site. With a construction contingency of about 4 percent, estimated architectural and engineering fees, another new access road and various required fees, Horrell projected a grand total of $36.5 million.

The school district currently has about $3.5 million left over from the LMPS project’s bond, so new funding required would be about $33 million, Horrell said.

These estimates are based on a six-month design with two years of construction starting in the summer of 2018, Horrell said. It’s also based on doing the entire campus at once, not in phases. The cost estimate does not include the four easternmost practice fields or the tennis courts envisioned for the campus.

The board did not vote on city funding for such development of the Lakeland Preparatory School project.

Other business

The board amended Lakeland’s code to implement a Lakeland Municipal Court for enforcement of the city’s laws and ordinances. The amendment provides for a municipal judge, a municipal court clerk, the court’s administration, the issuance of summonses and subpoenas, and an appeals process.

The board also approved the final reading of an ordinance regulating alternative financial services within Lakeland. These exclude banks or savings and loan establishments. Such businesses include pawn shops, title loan businesses and establishments that offer cash advances or check cashing.

The ordinance permits such businesses only on U.S. 64 with a minimum of one mile between such businesses, and the businesses are limited to a maximum of 2,500 square feet.

The rationale is that such businesses can negatively affect on local property values and economic redevelopment, have fees and lending practices that have a significant negative effect on citizens, and charge high fees “resulting in a cycle of debt and dependency for consumers.”

In other business, the board:

  • Approved the Bancorp South/East Side Baptist Church rezoning request from Light Industrial (IL) to Community Commercial District (C1). The church now has an option on the property in question (Parcel ID L0150 00519C). Regulations require a rezoning for uses that involve assembly. (“Assembly” includes such uses as community centers, house of worship and private clubs and lodges.)
  • Authorized the city manager to set city fees for parks and recreation and administrative fees that require the use of city employees’ time and city resources (such as making copies). The fees are to be presented to the city board no fewer than 30 days before their effective dates.
    Approved the sanitary sewer concept plan for The Estates of Chambers Chapel Planned Development. The proposed development will add 70 single family residential lots, which will generate approximately 13.6 gallons per minute of sanitary flow.