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Decatur School Board still weighing options of fieldhouse expansion

By Brian Knox | Published Wednesday, April 19, 2017
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The Decatur School Board continued discussion about an expansion of the existing fieldhouse Monday, but they have not yet given the go-ahead for the project.

For the third meeting in as many months, the board discussed the need to expand the fieldhouse at the high school in order to enlarge the weight room, add locker room space and build a classroom where athletes could watch film and have team meetings.

At the February meeting, the board considered two options: one that would include an expansion of the weight room and the addition of a classroom that would seat around 70 students at a cost of $400,000 to $450,000 and a second option that would include the same features as the first option, but it would also include a boys locker room and restroom and girls locker room and restroom additions at an estimated cost of $800,000 to $900,000.

At last month’s meeting, the board received information on locker room usage by athletes, and the board seemed to favor the second option. They were concerned, however, that the conceptual floor plan provided by Claycomb Associates Architects “capped” any possible future expansion of the fieldhouse with the restroom/locker room facilities running the length of the east side of the building.

At Monday’s meeting, Superintendent Rod Townsend brought back a new conceptual floor plan that moved the locker room addition to the southeast corner of the building and moved the weight room addition to the northeast corner of the building, which would allow for future expansion to the east.

The new conceptual drawing would increase the proposed facility expansion project from around 4,500 square feet to 5,200 square feet.

“This drawing would push $1 million,” Townsend said. “You figure on $200 per square foot.”

The board had also discussed the possibility of adding restroom facilities that could be accessed by the public during tennis or track meets held nearby, but the new conceptual drawing did not reflect that possibility.

“I think we need some kind of outside access for tennis and track,” board President Jeff Alling said. “I think they (Claycomb) have the general idea.”

Board member Wade Watson asked about possible building projects in the near future that might require the use of the current $3.5 million in the local construction fund of the budget.

“The only thing you are going to be looking at as a very real possibility in the next two to three years is a new addition to the high school,” Townsend said. “The high school was built with that in mind, to (expand) east or north. The first place you’d probably go is east toward the ag barn. … That’s the only building project I see going forward.”

After some discussion, the board decided to have Claycomb work on another concept design based on some of the suggestions the board discussed at the meeting, but they elected not to move ahead with construction designs until they have time to consider all the options that have been discussed.

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