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Greenfield School Board Questions Referendum Funds Spending

A concession stand with a price tag of nearly $70,000 has some board members wondering if the money is being well spent.

Of all the projects completed with the $37.8 million in referendum money approved back in 2007, perhaps none has undergone more scrutiny than a 12-by-12-foot concession stand erected on the north side of Greenfield High School.

Some Greenfield School Board members want to know why it cost so much to build, and was there an opportunity to save money.

The concession stand came with a $68,000 price tag, roughly half of which was funded by referendum money and the other half through the district’s buildings and grounds budget.

Three months ago, board member Cathy Walsh asked that the board be provided with details on how referendum money has been spent, and what the remaining funds will be spent on. At that time, she said she was embarrassed that she didn’t know more about the concession stand, why it was built and how much it cost.

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At a board meeting Monday, the concession stand was the center of attention again.

“People have come up to me and said … ‘it seems excessive,’” board president Bruce Bailey said. “The taxpayers of Greenfield have been very good to us. We have a new auditorium, a natatorium. All they ask for is that their money be spent wisely. … It might appear to be a little high, and I’m just wondering if we had gone to a bid process we could get it done cheaper.”

Superintendent Conrad Farner said CG Schmidt, the construction management and general contracting firm that handled the high school project, did put individual projects out to bid, and that the decision to build the concession stand was made by the district’s construction team that consisted largely of administrators and other district employees.

“It was always in the plan,” Farner said. “It was a ‘hope for’ thing. When we had the money at the end with projects winding down, it was something we had the desire to do.”

Farner explained the structure was a sound investment because over time, it will pay for itself with the revenue it generates from concessions during baseball and softball games and tennis matches.

The concession stand was expensive because it was built with sewer hookups for future bathrooms, and water lines needed to be connected from the northwest end of the parking lot, buildings and grounds supervisor Mike Datza said.

“We oversized the plumbing for future bathroom possibilities. We oversized the waterlines going to it for watering the baseball diamonds,” Datza said. “We were thinking ahead, thinking of the future.”

Added Farner: “It’s built to last. It’s not built to be a shed that had to be replaced in 10-15 years.”

Still, some board members were concerned the district overpaid.

“All I know is you can build half a house for $68,000,” Rick Moze said. “You can build a whole house with a basement, bathrooms and everything else for $140,000.”

Others want more answers about how CG Schmidt managed the bid process, especially considering CG Schmidt itself and Richards Street Supply, a CG Schmidt-owned entity, won several of the bids.

“When I was still on the board, CG Schmidt was coming and giving regular reports,” Walsh said. “But in the two years I was off the board, when they spent another $1 million, they stopped giving those reports. That’s one of the reasons why I asked for this report originally. I felt like once they pulled up stakes and were done with the major project of the building, the board and the public didn’t hear too much and didn’t really know what the costs were.

“We have too many questions we should know the answers to.”

Farner said he would request a CG Schmidt representative attend a future board meeting.

KHD November 20, 2012 at 10:37 PM
A full Audit should be done. I will gladly chip in for one. I dont believe we got enough for our money. Farner can not be trusted. He should go too, ruining the Districts reputation. Good luck on another referendum the way Farner handled this one. It's just ashame.
John Seymour November 20, 2012 at 10:44 PM
Well, Conrad does make 140,000 plus per year. Maybe that is how he spends his time...dreaming up $68,000 concession stands. What a joke. Perhaps they should have spend that money on equipping the "State of the Art" central office with WIFI. Something that would have actually been useful.
Ann November 20, 2012 at 11:18 PM
maybe part of the cost was that they had to resod both baseball fields - if people remember - the baseball teams ended up playing longer at Konkel thann they were supposed to. They sodded the new fields at the end of the year and then the next year they had to do it again and it was done by a different landscape company - seems to be a pattern here - no one overseeing and checking quality of work.
KHD November 21, 2012 at 12:11 AM
Ann- Don't think that was part of the cost. The baseball fields were built by a landscaping that had no Idea what they were doing. They were built wrong. I Talked with an Umpire in spring ball, that said he was going to write a letter to the WIAA that stated the field is not safe to play on because of all the holes and ruts. He said it was ashame that this field is in this kind of shape for being a new field. He complained about it for 4 hours. They also never watered it. The football field is watered all the time. The Football team was also allowed to practice on the soccer filed which was ruined also. The only thing the AD is concerned about is football, cares less about any other sport. Another West Allis hire by Conrad. The score board hardly ever works for baseball. The concession stand is to far from the seating, people do not want to walk that far. Parents working consessions load up coolers, and put snacks in a golf cart and park it by the stands so they can at least sell something. There is also not an esay access to the baseball stands from the parking lot. The paved path starts over by the tennis courts, about 400 yards from the stands. You can walk down a steep, grassy hill from the lot, but our senior citizens have a real hard time. It really is a safety issue. I remember a senior woman with a walker that was going to try and walk the 400 yards, but the parents in the consession cart went to her rescue and gave her a ride. What else did Conrad screw up Fire him
GreenfieldParent November 21, 2012 at 03:51 AM
You may take a look at those baseball fields. They don't comply with WIAA standards, home plate faces into the sun, the overall design for the spectators is horrible, and one of the fields isn't even finished (the west one). Maybe they should just rent Konkel from the City and turn the fields into a parking lot.
KHD November 21, 2012 at 08:24 AM
The boys dont play at Konkel. The girls softball does. The girls practice and play at Konkel. The coach wants two diamonds to practice on. He should be told to use the new field. Boys have three teams and can practice and play on one field. What a waste of money when the schools girls teams dont use it, Whats up with that?
Ann November 21, 2012 at 02:33 PM
I sure hope the school board memebers are reading these comments to see what else this Administration has f.... up - Although it sure seems that some of them may already be aware and see to be totally fine with it - Pam - since you like to be a rubber stamp for Farner anyways and have been on the board the longest.
Niccoli November 21, 2012 at 04:30 PM
When i was a junior in high school in 2002, our high school construction class designed and built a new concession stand for the baseball field. only cost to the school was for the actual construction materials (~$2500) it took us about 2 weeks to complete the project. Since then, each year's class designs and builds a new structure; storage buildings for football equipment, ticket booths for cold weather sports, platform seating for the band, gazeebo type sitting area.
Niccoli November 21, 2012 at 04:36 PM
The point is, not everything needs to be built by a "professional" contractor. There are very capable people in our community. (at least there were in my community in northern WI) Some of these people are less than 18 years old and willing to contribute physical labor for school credit or service hours. Give the right kids an opportunity and they may just surprise you. We're not ALL entitled brats these days
Mark Zabo November 21, 2012 at 04:47 PM
Lmao......a 68,000.00 concession stand. They RIPPED off the tax payers. Somebody should loose their job after that decision. More Government waste. People need to stand up and say enough is enough. Dont allow these sewer rats to make decisions they cant handle.
Kurtis Scardino November 21, 2012 at 05:38 PM
My school Whitnall just spent over 6.5 million to redo the athlete fields but they are AWESOME!!!
Danielle White November 21, 2012 at 05:48 PM
I can't believe that they spent $70,000 on the concession stand alone..
JustMe November 21, 2012 at 10:56 PM
waste of money!
Mark Zabo November 22, 2012 at 02:25 PM
Most of the people in these high powered positions, dont do their jobs. They are not there to help the people or the community. They just looking to help their own adgenda and thier own wallets. They are suppose to be leaders with morals. They have NONE, just look at the students sitting in their classrooms text on phones, walking down the halls with their pants down to their knees. That would not be allowed in my school, you are here to learn, not just to socialize. NO WONDER AMERICA is dropping fast in Academics to the rest of the world. The teachers and all the staff are at fault......you allow this to go on and on. Shows to me the kids are smarter then the adult facilty, they run the schools, just like the convicts in prison run their prisons
John Seymour November 23, 2012 at 04:33 AM
Mark, do they teach spelling at your school?
Mark Zabo November 23, 2012 at 06:35 AM
HaHa
Judy Johnson November 26, 2012 at 08:27 PM
Too bad they didn't spend a little more money on the Home Ec Room stoves and sink faucets. Too bad they weren't built to last. I have never seen such poor quality and planning on items that get used almost every hour of every day. Oh that's right, they aren't connected to sports in any way, so of course they weren't that important.
Alicia Smokowicz December 27, 2012 at 12:52 PM
Is this the reason that farmer is leaving for cederburg
robert heule December 28, 2012 at 12:44 AM
The expensive concession stand shall hereafter be known as the Schmidt House.

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