KC board approves reimbursement for stadium lights, considers tree removal


Kilgore College trustees agreed during their meeting Monday night to reimburse Kilgore ISD for their portion of the new lights at R.E. St. John Memorial Stadium.

“We have new lighting, and it looks great… But we weren’t sure on our budget yet, especially from the state, and still looking at our budget how it was going to work out and the ISD was a little more eager to get the lights up, so they fronted full payment of it,” KC Board Vice President Brian Nutt said, describing the reason for the reimbursement.

The college’s payment comes out to $107,500, based on the negotiated price of using high intensity discharge (HID) lights. The payment covers less than half of the Musco Lighting contract of $283,700 for LED lights.

“What we actually agreed upon early in the discussion was some of the HID lamps rather than the LED, and to split that cost with them, which the total cost of that was about $215,000, thus we have the $107,500,” he said. “The ISD was interested in upgrading above that, and so they are doing the extra between the HIDs and the LED, so that’s where we have the $107,500.”

The trustees approved the reimbursement unanimously, and trustee Joe Carrington requested the college establish a memorandum of understanding or other formal agreement with KISD about what it will and will not pay for moving forward.

“I know that’s in the process, and I know Dr. Kays has been talking with Cara Cook, superintendent, and making a formal agreement, working out some of the unspoken agreements we may have – or just spoken agreements,” Nutt said, noting any agreements will come through the facility committee, of which Nutt serves as chair.

Jeff Williams, construction, safety and maintenance manager for the college, addressed the board Monday night about problems regarding the Devall Student Center foundation and the need to take out some trees along Elder Street on the south side of the building that faces Masters Gym and the physical education building.

Williams noted observations made by members of the college community that one of the doors in the Devall Student Center, especially in the game room, were touching the ground and some cracks were appearing in the walls.

“When we started investigating, we also noticed it was a slight dip in the floor,” he said, which led to contacting three engineers to look for foundation and structural problems. “After several weeks of discussion of this, basically what we have found was that there is no concern of structural damage and we don’t have actually a foundation shift anywhere. We have soil constriction.”

The soil constriction is due to the clay on which the building was built and the effect tree roots have had.

“What has happened throughout the years, the trees have matured to the point where the roots have gone underneath the slab of the building, they begin to absorb moisture faster than the natural moisture can go back into the clay itself,” Williams explained.

The constriction has been very slow, but has created a void under the slab, Williams said, adding the problem is unnoticeable from the outside. The recommendation is to remove the trees, fix the sprinklers and place grass where the trees once stood.

Afterward, the college can insert mud or other liquid into the void to raise the slab or insert pier and beam support. These options, though, have the possibility of raising the floor too much, lifting the floor above what had been zero grade, Williams said, so the initial step is to remove the trees and see if the moisture returns naturally to raise the floor to where it should be.