Mark Taylor
USD 231 School Board members got a bird’s eye view of the district’s planned Multi-Purpose Activity Center on March 5.
Architects presented a digital 3D rendering of the $7.91 million athletic complex that will be paid for with proceeds of a $72 million bond issue approve by voters in February.
The facility, which will be built on the southeast corner of the existing high school, features a large gymnasium with two practice basketball courts along with separate strength and conditioning and fitness and cardiovascular rooms.
Superintendent Bill Gilhaus said the addition to the existing gymnasium wing will be used for basketball, volleyball, tennis, among other uses.
“It’s going to be used for a variety of (athletic) programs and physical education,” he said.
Gary Diener, director of operations, said in a memo to the board the new facility will allow for increased student participation in athletics.
“This project will greatly enhance the ability at the GEHS to meet the instructional demand for elective courses related to fitness and physical education programs within the curriculum,” he said.
Voters approved the bond issue by a margin of 2,795 to 2,424.
Other projects include a new elementary school and a new middle school that will be built just east of Center Street and south of Main Street, new turf for the Gardner Edgerton High School football field, renovations at Gardner and Sunflower elementaries, and district-wide technology upgrades, including laptops and audio-visual equipment.
School officials have said the bond issue will not result in a tax increase for at least two years.
However Gardner’s city fees and taxes will likely go up as a result of the city council agreeing to partially fund sewer upgrades to serve the new schools.
In other business, the school board unanimously voted to extend Gilhaus’s contract through June 2015.
Board president Ron Ragan said the contract extension does not include salary or benefit increases, although those items may be addressed in the future.
“It’s just a standard extension of the existing contract,” he said.