Cost, desired location remain stumbling blocks for facility that would be open to community
Cedar Grove-Belgium School Board members took the first step in what could be a lengthy process to outfit the high school with an updated fitness center that would serve the community and students.
The board saw preliminary design plans, which were submitted by Sheboygan-based
Abacus Architects, calling for a 2,550-square-foot fitness area and a 2,785-square-foot wrestling room.
The proposed area, west of the high school gymnasium and locker rooms, would also feature a unisex locker room, Supt. Jeanne Courneene said.
The fitness center would have different types of equipment, including treadmills, elliptical machines and free weights.
School Board member Todd Bucher questioned if the fitness center was large enough and was also concerned where the public would shower after a work out.
The current plans do not call for a shower room, meaning those working out would have to use bathrooms that are already installed and don’t have a shower.
“To get the community to come in, I think you’d want a locker room and shower,” Bucher said. “Not having a place to wash up after you work out is not ideal.”
Bucher said the fitness center is too small, but conceded there isn’t much room to expand in the proposed location. There is only a small hallway between the band room and proposed fitness center.
In April, board members authorized the district to explore options for a workout facility that would keep residents in town instead of going to gyms in Sheboygan Falls or Saukville to work out.
At the time, School Board President Chad Hoopman said the addition could cost $900,000.
At the board meeting last week, he said about 40% of that cost could be defrayed by naming rights from at least two local companies. He wouldn’t specify which companies are interested in naming rights.
If the district did receive 40% of the possible cost from sponsors, it would still be on the hook for $540,000.
Board members said they want to be sure that money was being spent in the right place.
“Is this project something we feel as a board is vital, that needs to get done now or are there other projects in the district we can be working on?” Board Member Jim Lautenschlaeger asked.
Lautenschlaeger said the board needed to come up with a “vision” for improvements to the district over the next 5 to 10 years, and if an updated fitness center was part of that plan, he would support it.
“It’s good to have ideas for how the district is going to expand,” he said. “It’s important to me that we have more technology in our kids’ hands.”
Courneene said she would discuss the plans and board member concerns with High School Principal Josh
Ketterhagen, who will survey coaches to see what they would like in a new facility.
Board members agreed that the current facilities are outdated.
“A lot of our athletes go to a neighboring school to work out because the weight room is horrible,” Lautenschlaeger said.
Bucher agreed, saying the facilities at area schools like Sheboygan North and
Kewaskum are “beautiful,” but if a renovation is done in the district, “it needs to be done right.”
Courneene stressed the plans were preliminary and it appeared there was an interest in a community fitness center.
“It seems like there is enthusiasm regarding the project,” she said. “The easy part is brainstorming. The hard part is figuring out our priorities.”
Board members asked Courneene to talk to the architects about other locations in the district with more room for the fitness center.
The district owns about 28 acres of land north of the high school.
Courneene said Ketterhagen would present his findings from the coaches at the Aug. 13 board meeting.