Dec. 2, 2004

Contact: Eric Grospitch, KU Student Housing, (785) 864-7220.

Children of KU students to benefit from program to recycle abandoned bicycles

LAWRENCE -- Officials from Lansing Correctional Facility will present 10 children's bicycles to University of Kansas officials on Thursday, Dec. 2, as part of a program that recycles bikes abandoned at the university.

Representatives from KU's Department of Student Housing and the KU Public Safety Office will receive the bicycles at 1 p.m. at the Lansing Community Center, 800 1st Terrace, Lansing. The facility is located below the Lansing Police Department off Kansas Highway 7.

The bicycles, which will be distributed during a winter party to children of KU students living at Stouffer Place Apartments, have been refurbished by a team of inmates at Lansing as part of an ongoing community service project. The 10 bicycles being distributed Thursday are to acknowledge a donation of about 200 bikes from KU's Department of Student Housing to the program this summer.

Vince Avila, associate director of student housing, said about 250 bicycles were collected from property maintained by the Department of Student Housing after students left in May. In cooperation with KU's Public Safety Office, the bicycles were stored for more than two months. During that time, about 50 bicycles were claimed and collected by students.

Eric Grospitch, assistant director of student housing, said KU has always had a policy for bicycles abandoned on student housing property. Until this year, functioning bicycles were donated to the Lawrence Police Department and damaged property was disposed of.

This year, however, city officials alerted student housing staff to the Lansing program. Grospitch said the new plan eliminated waste while benefiting the children at Stouffer Place Apartments and the inmates at Lansing.

“ It's a great vocational training program,” he said. “It's turned out really well.”
Lawrence/Douglas County Fire and Medical Department will provide 10 helmets to accompany the children's bicycles that will be distributed at KU next month. Division Fire Chief Rob Kort said a department representative would be on hand to be sure the helmets fit properly.

A Lansing facility official said a crew of five to eight inmates rebuilt about 450 bicycles in 2004. Donations of bicycles and parts come from public and private organizations across the state.

The finished products are given to people in need. This year, bicycles also will be shipped overseas to military personnel in Iraq.

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