By William Kincaid
NEW BREMEN -- The New Bremen Vision Committee received a green light from the board of education Wednesday night to begin fund-raising for a proposed fitness center on school property.
Athletic Director Gary Jones and a group of interested citizens who organized the Vision Committee have said they want to raise funds to create an athletic facility that could be utilized by both students and the community.
After discussions with the board's attorney, a resolution was presented to the board to permit the construction of such a facility if funding is adequate. The resolution was passed unanimously Wednesday night.
Design plans for the proposed fitness center are being prepared by Freytag & Associates, Sidney. All construction funds raised by the committee will be turned over to the non-profit Cardinal Community Foundation, which will handle the construction.
The proposed 13,700-square-foot athletic training, office and storage facility must be built on school property, according to the resolution. Board members said there are a greater numbers of students participating in intramurals and interscholastic athletics, in addition to an increased emphasis on the school's physical education program. There is no space currently available at the existing school to accommodate a fitness center, board members said.
Once the total projected cost of the fitness center -- which was not stated by either the board, administration or Vision Committee -- is pledged and confirmed, the Cardinal Community Foundation will be permitted access to the school's property for construction. Both the board and school, at that time, would be held harmless from any injuries or loss of property during the construction.
"They certainly have our blessing," Superintendent Ann Harvey said. "It will be an exciting project."
Bert Fiser, a member of the Vision Committee, has said the facility will be entirely financed through donations. He added that many of the individuals who worked on the football field project would be involved again on this project.
Fiser said the facility would be located on the east parking lot of the high school. He added the committee -- which has been organizing the project for a year-and-a-half -- spent four months evaluating and eliminating possible sites.
Though the preliminary plans are still quite tentative, he said the proposal now includes a 50-by-60-foot weight room and a 50-by-100-foot multi-space athletic room. The current weight room, according to Jones, is only 22-by-45 square feet. The building also would include a 180-foot-long hallway for sprint runners.
As the school athletic programs have attracted more students over the years, Jones said the current weight room has become inadequate for proper training and increasingly dangerous.