Herman B Wells Community Conference Center
Watchdog Indiana Home Page Watchdog Lebanon Home Page
The Lebanon Community School Corporation Board of Trustees (Michael Burtron, David Herr, Tom Merritt, Michelle Thomas, and Robert Wirey) voted unanimously to finalize the USE OF HERMAN B WELLS COMMUNITY CONFERENCE CENTER guidelines at its November 18, 2014, meeting. The text of the finalized Lebanon High School Conference Center use guidelines is listed next.
The LCSC School Board deleted the following guideline #6 from the use policy for the Conference Center located on the premises of Lebanon High School: “Users wishing to serve alcoholic beverages (beer and/or wine only) must apply for such service with Aramark Food Service. No alcoholic beverage can be brought into the facility, no alcoholic beverage can be purchased to be removed from the facility and no alcoholic beverage can be consumed outside of the facility.” The words “and beverage” were also struck from guideline #8.
The practical result of the changes to guidelines #6 and #8 is that the LCSC Drug Prevention Policy 5530 will prevail at Lebanon High School. Policy 5530 provides: “The School Board recognizes that the misuse of drugs is a serious problem with legal, physical, and social implications for the entire school community. As the educational institution of this community, the schools should strive to prevent drug abuse and help drug abusers by educational, rather than punitive, means. For purposes of this policy, ‘drugs’ shall mean: (...) D. all alcoholic beverages (....) The Board prohibits the use, possession, concealment, or distribution of any drug and any drug-related paraphernalia at any time on Corporation property or at any school-related event. It further establishes a drug-free zone within 1000 feet of any facility used by the Corporation for educational purposes.”
Alcoholic beverages will NOT be served at the Herman B Wells Community Conference Center on the premises of Lebanon High School.
Another noteworthy change was made to guideline #10. The LHS Conference Center can now be used for individual academic class meetings, individual academic class activities, fine arts practice sessions, club meetings, and sports call out meetings.
Watchdog Lebanon & Watchdog Indiana had a booth in the Commercial Building at the July 18-24 Boone County 4-H Fair. Everyone was encouraged to stop by, have a seat, and talk about what is good public policy for our local units of government.
An opportunity was provided for interested folks to vote – by putting a green or red sticker on a poster board indicating a Yes or No “vote” – on the following question: Was the $500,000 spent on the Herman B Wells Community Center at Lebanon High School money well spent?
There were 8 Yes votes and 26 No votes.
Lebanon Mayor Huck Lewis led the way in getting his Lebanon Redevelopment Commission to grant $500,000 to the Lebanon Community School Corporation to have the Herman B Wells Community Conference Center included with the recent $28 million Lebanon High School renovation. The Conference Center is a “vanity” project that increases the LHS utility expenses and meets no public policy need – school educational uses are limited in the Conference Center by the proposed guideline #9 below, no business will see the Conference Center and conclude it should move to the Lebanon Business Park, no “young professional family” will decide to move to Lebanon because of the Conference Center.
The RDC could have combined the $500,000 it spent on the Conference Center with the $1.71 million it has spent spent thus far to install “decorative panels” on the SR 39 bridge over I-65 and reduced by half the 15-year property tax increase for the new Memorial Park swimming pool.
In addition to the “vanity” waste is the apparent intention of LHS to use the Conference Center as banquet hall in competition with the private sector. The following guidelines were presented by title reference only on first reading to the LCSC School Board at its September 16, 2014, meeting:
LHS Conference Center Alcohol Use
The proposed use guideline #5 provides, “Users wishing to serve alcoholic beverages (beer and/or wine only) must apply for such service with Aramark Food Service.” It is incredibly poor public policy to allow alcoholic beverages to be served on the premises of Lebanon High School.
Teen Drinking & Driving
An October 2012 “Teen Drinking and Driving” report from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (see http://www.cdc.gov/vitalsigns/TeenDrinkingAndDriving/index.html) finds that (a) one in 10 high school students aged 16 years and older have driven a vehicle one or more times during the past 30 days when they had been drinking alcohol and (b) young drivers ages 16-20 are 17 times more likely to die in a crash when they have a blood alcohol concentration of .08% than when they have not been drinking.
Excessive Boone County Drinkng
The July 2014 Boone County Community Health Assessment (see http://www.boonecounty.in.gov/LinkClick.aspx?fileticket=rDpjp75HZkc%3d&tabid=130&mid=1557) finds that (a) excessive drinking is an area of opportunity for health improvement, (b) the number of people drinking excessively increased from 16% in 2011 to 19% in 2014, and (c) the 19% of excessive Boone County drinkers in 2014 exceeded the 16% statewide average.
LCSC Drug Prevention Policy 5530
The intention of the LCSC Drug Prevention Policy 5530 at http://www.neola.com/lebanon-in/ is clearly stated. “The School Board recognizes that the misuse of drugs is a serious problem with legal, physical, and social implications for the entire school community. As the educational institution of this community, the schools should strive to prevent drug abuse and help drug abusers by educational, rather than punitive, means. For purposes of this policy, ‘drugs’ shall mean: (...) D. all alcoholic beverages (....) The Board prohibits the use, possession, concealment, or distribution of any drug and any drug-related paraphernalia at any time on Corporation property or at any school-related event. It further establishes a drug-free zone within 1000 feet of any facility used by the Corporation for educational purposes.”
LCSC Superintendent Bob Taylor is attempting to circumvent the LCSC Drug Prevention Policy 5530 by allowing alcoholic beverages to be served in the LHS Conference Center. Any exceptions to prohibiting alcoholic beverages at all times on all school property, at all school-related event, and within 1,000 feet of every school facility will weaken the Drug Prevention Policy 5530 by sending a mixed message.
Lebanon City Code 130.06 Regarding Alcoholic Beverages Consumption
(2) The intention of the Lebanon City Code 130.06 at http://www.amlegal.com/nxt/gateway.dll/Indiana/lebanon_in/cityoflebanonindianacodeofordinances?f=templates$fn=default.htm$3.0$vid=amlegal:lebanon_in is also clearly stated regarding the consumption of alcoholic beverages in public places. “(A) The consumption of alcoholic beverages in any public place in the limits of the city is hereby declared to be unlawful and a public nuisance. (B) For the purposes of this section the term PUBLIC PLACE is hereby defined to be any government-owned building, within the city and/or the streets, alleys, parks and municipally owned property of the city.” Lebanon City Code 130.99 further provides, “Any person violating any of the terms of (Lebanon City Code) 130.06(A) may be punished by a fine of not less than $5 nor more than $100.”
Lebanon Mayor Huck Lewis cannot be counted on to enforce Lebanon City Code 130.06 prohibiting the consumption of alcoholic beverages in the LHS Conference Center. Mayor Lewis attended the October 4 fundraiser in the LHS Conference Center for Mental Health America of Boone County where beer and wine were served (it is not known if Mayor Lewis imbibed). (Because mental health disorders are so often linked with alcohol abuse, how can Mental Health America of Boone County think their goal of “Planting the seeds for a Healthy Mind and Body” is being properly met when they conduct a fundraiser where alcoholic beverages are served?) Perhaps Lebanon’s next mayor will be less inclined to selectively enforce the city’s laws.
Unfair "Banquet Hall" Competition
A secondary concern is allowing the publicly funded LHS Conference Center to unfairly compete for banquet hall customers against private sector entities.
The new Lebanon High School building addition that houses the Conference Center also contains an Athletic Area.
The Conference Center contains 8,620 square feet. The Conference Center consists of three large community rooms, one School Board meeting room, three equipment storage rooms, a catering room, two family restrooms, and a video control room. The cost of the Conference Center is $137 per square foot or $1,180,940 total.
The Athletic Area contains 1,050 square feet. The Athletic Area consists of an entry vestibule, a ticket booth, an athletic reception area, an athletic director’s office, a workroom, a storage area, and two staff restrooms. The cost of the Athletic Area is $137 per square foot or $143,850 total.
There were two sources for the $1,324,790 it cost to construct the LHS
Conference Center and Athletic Area building addition. The Lebanon Redevelopment
Commission provided $500,000 from its accumulated property tax revenue. The
remaining $824,790 came from the bond issue that was approved by the 2010
Lebanon Community Schools Referendum and will be paid for with property taxes
through 2023 (the LHS Conference Center and Athletic Area building addition was
not included in the original list of projects designated to receive bond
Not only were property taxes used to construct the LHS Conference Center and Athletic Area building addition, but the ongoing maintenance and insurance expenses will be paid for by taxpayers through the LCSC budget. It is questionable public policy for the publicly operated LHS Conference Center to compete for banquet hall customers against private sector entities such as Palomino Ballroom, Eagles Club, and Ulen Country Club. It is poor public policy for the LCSC School Board to unwisely allow alcohol use at the LHS Conference Center to try and gain a banquet hall “marketing” advantage.
Please ACT NOW
The LCSC School Board will finalize the Conference Center use guidelines on second reading at its November 18, 2014, meeting. LCSC Superintendent Bob Taylor is making a mistake by attempting to allow alcoholic beverages be served in the Herman B Wells Community Conference Center that is located on the premises of Lebanon High School. Any exception to prohibiting alcoholic beverages at all times on all school property, at all school-related events, and within 1,000 feet of every school facility will weaken the LCSC Drug Prevention Policy 5530 by sending a mixed message. Because of the safety and health hazards associated with drinking, the LCSC School Board must correct Superintendent Taylor’s mistake by changing the proposed LHS Conference Center use guideline #5 to state, “The use of alcohol of any type is strictly forbidden.” Upholding the LCSC Drug Prevention Policy 5530 is much more important than any miniscule banquet hall “marketing” advantage that might be achieved by allowing alcoholic beverages to be served in the LHS Conference Center.
Please ACT NOW and let the LCSC School Board know what you think of allowing the use of alcohol on the premises of Lebanon High School.The E-mail addresses for LCSC School Board members Michael Burtron, David Herr, Tom Merritt, Michelle Thomas, and Robert Wirey are: email@example.com; firstname.lastname@example.org; email@example.com; firstname.lastname@example.org; email@example.com
NOTE: A fun math test is to write down on a piece of paper - in numerical form – (a) one hundred thousand dollars, (b) one million dollars, (c) one hundred million dollars, (d) one billion dollars. The fun math test answers are that (a) one hundred thousand dollars is $100,000; (b) one million dollars is $1,000,000; (c) one hundred million dollars is $100,000,000; (d) one billion dollars is $1,000,000,000. Now, look at guideline #1 for the USE OF HERMAN B WELLS COMMUNITY CONFERENCE CENTER which reads, “Each user shall present a Certificate of Liability for not less than $1,000,000,000 organizational liability insurance naming Lebanon Community School Corporation as an additional insured.” Yep, $1,000,000,000 is one billion dollars. Few organizations can afford one billion dollars of insurance coverage – SURELY the $1,000,000,000 figure is in error and meant to be one million dollars ($1,000,000)!
Watchdog Indiana Home Page Watchdog Lebanon Home Page
This page was last updated on 10/28/16 .