Written by MICHAEL LoCICERO
Wednesday, 10 December 2014 19:21
Instead of heading to referendum, officials plan to finance most of high school addition with naming rights
If all goes according to plan, the Cedar Grove-Belgium School District could have a new fitness center and multi-purpose facility completed by this time next year.
That’s because the School Board agreed on Dec. 3 to a $1.4 million plan that will add a building to the north of the high school gym.
School Board President Chad Hoopman said the board will look at financing options over the next six weeks, but was confident the district will not need to hold a referendum vote to secure funding.
If the district has to borrow more than $1 million for a project, a referendum must be held.
“Ultimately, for the taxpayers, this isn’t going to be a referendum item,” he said. “This is something we’re going to get done within our budget.”
Hoopman said the board will start more extensive talks for naming rights now that it has an option selected.
“We can now start moving forward with some companies and give them something to present to their foundation boards,” he said.
The board considered three options when it met with Bob Heimerl from Abacus Architects last week.
Approved plans call for a 55-by-106-foot multi-purpose space that could be a wrestling practice room and used by other sports during other seasons.
Hoopman said the school’s annual 3-on-3 soccer and basketball tournaments could utilize the space.
Plans also call for an additional 55-by-106-foot space that will likely include sets of free weights and cardio equipment like treadmills, Hoopman said.
He said the option was chosen in part because of the geography of the high school.
“We looked at an addition to the west side of the current building, but trying to fit something there with the buildings and parking lot we have there now would be difficult,” Hoopman said. “Utilizing this space opens up a lot of future possibilities.”
The district may consider building a new pool and auditorium in the future and those additions could be built north of the proposed addition, Hoopman said.
“A lot of this is meeting our current needs and thinking about the district in the future,” he said.
Hoopman also said the existing weight room could be converted into a larger locker room that might be used by the football team.
The board authorized Abacus to create more detailed plans which will be presented to the board in January.
Hoopman said bids will then be sent out for a construction manager on the project.
A tentative timeline calls for the construction to begin in the spring with completion by late next year, pending state approval of the plans.
Hoopman said the addition is necessary for both students and the community.
“For both the continued quality of our athletic programs and physical education programs, as well as an upgrade to our community, our current weight room is not up to standards when compared to other schools in the area,” he said.
“This is something we are deficient in and we recognize that. This takes a great step in giving us a space that gives us the ability to be on par with any other school and community.”
The board unanimously approved the plans last week. Board members Aileen Dahlke and Todd Bucher were not present for the meeting.