Remembrance walk to be built at THS
The proposed site for the Chieftain Remembrance Walk has changed, but now it will be front and center at Tonganoxie High School.
Plans call for a "T" made of bricks that would honor deceased THS alumni, as well as school officials, and a walkway bearing community members' names.
Organizers originally planned for the walk to be built southwest of Beatty Field. Kelly Frantz and her mother, Pam Jeannin, have spearheaded the remembrance walk. Kelly's late husband, Lucas Frantz, was the inspiration for the project. Army Cpl. Frantz was killed Oct. 18, 2005, on his 22nd birthday.
At the same time the remembrance walk goes up, a new entryway into the stadium, which the THS Booster Club will build and finance, will be built to the north.
Both projects received school board approval earlier this month. But at a meeting last week that brought together representatives from both projects, as well as school officials, THS principal Jamie Carlisle said he was concerned about two projects going on at the same time in such close proximity.
"Although we're all adults, it's easy in a situation like this ... to accidentally step on the other project," Carlisle said. "I was worried about that."
Carlisle said he had asked school board president Leana Leslie whether any other sites had been considered, but she didn't know of any. Carlisle evaluated other sites and found one he thought would be ideal -- in front of the high school's east campus.
"There's so many reasons to do that," Carlisle said. "More visible; more likely to be taken care of; helps in beautifying our building. To me, the list goes on and on and on.
"However, I didn't want to force the issue."
Frantz and Jeannin, as well as Tonganoxie brick mason CJ McDaniel, who also is helping with the project, were receptive to the new site.
The remembrance walk would be part of a project done in phases that would alter the landscape to the north of THS.
New plans call for the remembrance walk to be constructed outside the school where grass was planted after renovations to THS were finished. During that project, the outside wall to the north of the gymnasium was knocked out and the building extended to the north to include a walkway and balcony seating on the north end of the gymnasium. The high school project, which also included a new auditorium, trades classes and a new music room, was completed in 2006 and officially opened in January.
The walk would be part of an area that Carlisle envisions spanning the area in front of the gymnasium. Eventually, he would like to see a commons area incorporated into the area as well. That would be done in phases. School officials also will look into eventually building a roof on the outdoor area.
The current project, though, is the remembrance walk.
Bricks will be available for $35 and will be engraved with names of past and present school and community members.
Frantz and Jeannin have stipulated that the bricks inside the "T" will be reserved for THS alumni and other school officials who are deceased. The walkway of bricks that will tie into the "T" will be available to bear names of community members -- both living and deceased.
Jeannin announced last week that the remembrance walk officially is a nonprofit organization and that an account has been established at First State Bank and Trust.
Money for bricks will be used to pay for the bricks, as well as provide funds for upkeep of the remembrance walk and establish scholarships in Lucas Frantz's name at THS.
At the meeting, Jeannin and Frantz worked with school officials to adopt bylaws for the nonprofit organization. Plans also are in the works to created a board of directors for the project.
A groundbreaking ceremony was Nov. 16 for the booster club entryway at Beatty Field. It is called the Point of Pride project and will be funded solely through booster club money.
Booster club president Bryan Kemp and member Mark Himpel are spearheading that project, while Tonganoxie engineer Dennis Bixby is donating his time to draw up plans for both projects. Larry Meadows, who is retired from Meadows Construction, also has offered his time to the projects.
The entryway is expected to cost $15,000, while most supplies for the remembrance walk will be donated.
A groundbreaking ceremony for the remembrance walk is expected in the coming weeks.