2013-06-13 / Front Page

Strasburg School Board to hold public meeting on replacing old gym

Thurs., June 27

A public meeting will be held at the Strasburg School on Thurs., June 27, at 8 p.m. to gather input on whether the school district should replace the south gym, locker rooms and kitchen in a proposed $2.4 million project.

Depending upon public input, the project could be on the ballot as early as August with construction starting next spring.

There were mixed comments at the first meeting held last Thursday where architects from HKG Architects, Inc. of Aberdeen, S.D., explained alternatives and the version tentatively backed by the Strasburg School Board.

The old gym, which is part of the high school complex, stage and kitchen area have deteriorated because of roof leaks over the years, and board members said the area is to the point that it might be condemned by the state if action isn’t taken.

Architect Scott Sikkink said he had inspected most of the damaged area and found the structure to be in bad shape. HKG estimated that it would cost an estimated $746,000 to make repairs, and Sikkink warned that more problems might surface in the struts that support the roof and if “black mold” is found in the areas that have gotten wet multiple times.

The gym discussed at the meeting would become the main gym and would seat 600 people, enough so the school could host district and regional basketball tournaments.

A ground-sourced heating and cooling system would be included which would reduce the cost of fuel for the building. PrincipalArchitect Dean Marske said the system would save as much as two-thirds or more of the cost of heating the complex.

Board President Duane Ternes said the board has made no decisions, pending public input, and that board members and administrators have been looking into the condition of the gym area for over three months.

It was noted that the condition of the wood floor in the old gym is such that no more grade tournaments can be held there out of fear of student injuries.

Ternes said the board asked Supt. Mary Larson to get professional help to look at the problems and to come up with various alternatives.

Ideas that surfaced from the audience of about 50 people included incorporating a wellness center in the building as part of the athletic training/weight room, not building a gym and using the Zeeland School gym, further exploring repairs to the existing structure, impact of declining enrollment/ possibility of oil industry growth in area, focusing on updating the elementary school to house the kitchen and lunchroom and building with the idea of moving the elementary school to the high school complex.

If the board would choose to go with the new gym, the ballot would include two items—the project and raising the district’s debt limit to accommodate a $2.4 million project. The project includes $200,000 for demolishing the present structure.

Rough numbers distributed at the meeting indicated taxes on a typical quarter of land would be an additional $330 per year for the life of the projected 20-year bond issue. Taxes on a $100,000 home taxed at $50,000 would be about $148.50 per year.

“We are hoping that more people from the community will attend the June 27 meeting so that we have a better reading of what people want and will support,” Supt. Larson said.

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