The Lake Mills Area School District Board of Education approved a motion to construct a new high school upper gym floor by a 3-1 vote at its latest meeting Monday at the Lake Mills High School LMC.
The project, which will cost $110,000, will all be funded by donations from local companies. The four companies are Greenwoods State Bank, Harms Insurance Group, Bank of Lake Mills and Dental Associates of Lake Mills.
Lake Mills High School Principal Cale Vogel said at Monday’s meeting one of the first goals he had as principal this year was to do something about the gym floor.
There are many “dead” spots on the floor, which means when one bounces a ball on that part of the floor, it doesn’t bounce with the same amount of gusto as it would in non-dead spots on the floor. Also, some of the nails in the floorboards are starting to seize up, and one of the girls basketball players cut her arm on a nail seizing up out of the floor this winter.
“It’s our main competition floor in the district. Our middle school and elementary school gyms are brand new and our main competition floor is a little dated,” Vogel said. “It’s well over 50 years old.”
So, Vogel used some of the experiences he’s had working at Brookfield East High School and Johnson Creek High School and decided to go out and get sponsors/donators for the floor.
The four aforementioned companies jumped at the opportunity to help LMHS. As part of the deal, they will have the logos of their businesses on the floor.
“I got the word out about the idea of sponsorships for the floor, and they went really well,” Vogel said. “We worked with those businesses, athletic director Steve Murphy and (building and grounds supervisor) Dennis Riedl and got three bids in on the floor.”
Construction time for the project is estimated for eight weeks and will take place this summer when students are out of the high school building.
The only dissenting vote on the school board came from board member Donna Thomas.
Thomas has stated in the past she wouldn’t be in favor of a new high school gym floor because of possible plans for a new high school in the district in the future.
However, at the meeting, Board President and Facilities Committee member Rick Mason said the district has no future plans for a new high school. The current high school is estimated to last another 30 years.
“We’re not going to talk about a gym or a high school. The public looking at an $80 million referendum for a high school is not in the cards at this time,” Mason said. “The public won’t support a referendum for a building like that. We have a long-range plan that addresses this building.”
Thomas said her worries about a new gym floor come from the need for a bigger gym as well.
The upper gym isn’t the biggest in the Capitol Conference and has some limitations on capacity.
“We need a larger gym where the backboard isn’t right up against the wall, the bleachers aren’t right up to the floor and has a weight room and wrestling room attached to it,” Thomas said. “This gym is 50 years old. I’m grateful we have donors who are willing to pay for this, in my opinion, it’s putting a band-aid on a great, big wound.”
Board member Rachael Davies suggested there’s always the possibility of constructing a new gym on the Lake Mills High School site.
“That gym can’t go away – it will always be a gym. So even if we built an addition and built a lower gym at some point, you can’t make the upper gym any bigger,” Davies said. “So, we put in this new floor, and if in five years, we build another gym, then we’ll have another gym. Then, we’ll have three.”