NEW KNOXVILLE – The New Knoxville Board of Education gave approval to explore the possible 10,000 foot expansion of the school’s athletic facilities, using donations and new money to underwrite an estimated cost of around $2,400,000 during its meeting Monday, March 26. There is currently no timeline for the start or completion of this project.
Superintendent Kim Waterman said she worked with Peterson Construction to come up with wish list ideas for gym renovation that would include opening up the west end of the current gym and adding an auxiliary gym. The project would also fill in the area between the gym and elementary school rooms which would allow room to make improvements to restroom access, more bleacher seating, a visitor and referee locker room and a new athlete training room.
It was further noted that the current project estimates would only build the structure and did not include improvements such as bleachers and gym floors. The new structure’s estimated cost was calculated by the 10,000 square footage times the state-estimated formula of $235 per square foot.
Waterman also pointed out that the current gym facilities have a pressing need for expansion and improvement. She said the bleachers, installed in the 1970’s, will not pass state inspection for much longer. She also said tight conditions mean only 220 tickets are for sale to visitors, discouraging attendance at games.
She also said they felt that this proposed building campaign would not affect other school projects such as technology improvements.
“It is easier to get grant funding for school academic projects than it is for athletic improvements,” she said.
In support of the project, Athletic Director Kay Webb said that in recent times “Believe it or not, athletics have become the base of the school. Now is the time to figure out how we are going to keep up.”
The school board members requested that any estimates have various options available, to give them a better idea of what can be done at what cost.
In other news, Waterman, who also serves as the K-3 principal, said that 35 children were registered for kindergarten screening this Tuesday and Wednesday. This spring, 44 seniors are expected to graduate.
In other business, the board approved:
• a $9250 donation from the Athletic Boosters to be be used for track equipment and Little Ranger jerseys.
• new BOE policies.
• Gatekeeper fund for accounts 410, 510, and 890.
• employment of Meg Reineke as junior varsity volleyball coach and Marc Dyrness as varsity assistant soccer coach. They also accepted the resignation of Josh Lisi as varsity boys basketball coach. Lisi cited family obligations for his decision to leave the position, where he served for 10 years.
In school accomplishments, 4th to 12th grade Principal Jenny Fledderjohan reported that the 9th/10th grade group took first place in a TEAMS (Tests of Engineering Aptitude, Mathematics and Science) competition, the high school band took an overall rating of 1 in District competition and will compete at state level April 27, and nine high school art students won regional awards. Caitlin Lammers went on to have her artwork selected as one of 300 statewide to be exhibited at the 2018 Governor’s Youth Art Show.
The writer is a regular contributor to the Sidney Daily News.