From left, Tiawna Smercina, Jasmin Garcia, Catalina Garcia and Stevie Masterson, all 12, jump rope Thursday during an energy burner period at the Boys & Girls Club of Craig. School district officials say there is a lack gym space and are proposing the expansion of an auxiliary gym at Craig Middle School. The proposed gym would be used for students and the community.

Photo by Hans Hallgren

From left, Tiawna Smercina, Jasmin Garcia, Catalina Garcia and Stevie Masterson, all 12, jump rope Thursday during an energy burner period at the Boys & Girls Club of Craig. School district officials say there is a lack gym space and are proposing the expansion of an auxiliary gym at Craig Middle School. The proposed gym would be used for students and the community.

Council undecided on school district funding request

Craig Middle School gymnasium project in need of $150,000 in city funds

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— The Craig City Council is slated to vote Tuesday on a Moffat County School District request for additional money that would fund a gymnasium expansion project.

Although agreeing that the community needs more gym space, Craig Mayor Don Jones said the council has not made up its mind about how it plans to vote. He said the governing body would wait until it has all information before making a decision.

"Until we get our packets with everything in them, we won't have had time to make a decision," Jones said. "And we won't make up our minds until we're at the meeting."

School district representatives appeared Feb. 24 before the City Council to make its request.

In the $29.5 million bond issue Moffat County voters approved in November 2007, money was allocated for a small auxiliary gym. Plans for the gym grew because of a shortage in gym space, as did cost.

The first proposed court in the gym was 45 feet by 45 feet but was expanded to 75 feet long by 44 feet wide - a size similar to the gym at Sunset Elementary.

District construction liaison Joel Sheridan said the current plan is to build a court that is 46 feet by 54 feet.

But, "that's not enough room for what we want to accomplish," he added. "That doesn't leave us enough room for extra hoops or volleyball nets, which were two of the things that the city requested and those were two of the reasons why they were looking to partner with us."

The school district has $150,000 budgeted for the auxiliary gym and recently received additional funding through a $100,000 grant from the Department of Local Affairs. The district is requesting $150,000 from the city to help complete the project.

The entire project carries an estimated price tag of $450,000 to $500,000. With money from the city, the project still would need $50,000 to $100,000 to be completed.

Sheridan said building plans have come in at a variety of sizes, but to incorporate what the school and the city would need, the size of the court would have to be 84 feet long by 50 feet wide - about the same size as the high school's basketball court, Sheridan said.

"The figures had changed, and we've been in talks with the construction company," Sheridan said. "We need to pursue all options and keep everything on the table."

Sheridan said that he was waiting to hear from the construction company about the cost of building a gym similar in size to Moffat County High School.

One of the issues the auxiliary gym was facing was the amount of space between the court and the walls, called a runoff area, Sheridan said.

"Ideally, it would be six feet (from the court to the wall), but it may have to be three, four, five feet," Sheridan said.

"There are so many options we need to consider - whether to have wood floors or not, the size of the courts, how much space there will be between the court and the wall. It costs between $150 and $200 per square foot to add on, so we need to realize that the costs will increase when the size increases.

"When you add a foot you add a cost."

If there is a gap between the cost of the project and the amount that has been raised, the school would have to look for more foundations or grants to help make up the difference, Sheridan said.

"A large chunk of it would have to come from foundations or grants because the school doesn't have money beyond the plans that have already been submitted," Sheridan said. "I imagine money is pretty tight right now with the city like it is for a lot of towns. We would need to find another foundation or apply for another grant like DOLA in the future."

Sheridan said that the auxiliary gym also will help when the schools redistrict next year.

"Right now the school is set up for two classes of physical education, and that is going to rise to three classes of physical education," Sheridan said. "There will be 185 more students using the gym, so having a larger gym will be necessary."

Comments

grannyrett 5 years, 9 months ago

I don't know how I made it through school having p.e. everyday with only one gym. I do like the idea of having something the community can use. It may quiet the storm for a rec center for a while.

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als362 5 years, 9 months ago

I believe that money would be better spent here, for something connected with a school, and a building that could be used by everyone. Rather than spend millions+ putting up a special structure that only a few will actually use.

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jeff corriveau 5 years, 9 months ago

Don't expect to see a resolution to this until AFTER the council election. Wouldn't want our elected officials to make a decision they would be held accountable for. So, how about the CDP asking each candidate for a YES/NO answer on the question.

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irishbrat 5 years, 9 months ago

yeah, I was voicing my opinion about some 7th grade teachers.

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