Baldwin wrestling coach prefers to stay put
District teachers and staff member will meet next month with district architects to share their thoughts on possible uses for the old auditorium in Baldwin Junior High School, but one district staff member took his concerns to the Baldwin school board on Monday.
Baldwin High School wrestling coach Kit Harris told the board Monday he preferred his program stay in the South Gym at the corner of Chapel and Eight streets rather than relocate to remodeled space in the junior high auditorium.
Board discussion about the possible remodeling of the auditorium stemmed from a need to relocate wrestling and cheerleading practice facilities if the district sold the South Gym.
The South Gym provides more room for practice and storage than the space proposed in the auditorium, Harris said. The program can place two full mats on the South Gym’s floor, each allowing 10 to 14 wrestlers to practice, he said. The space in the remodeled auditorium would allow only one mat, he said.
The South Gym also allows the school to schedule its annual purple-and-white match and junior varsity matches and meets without disrupting other programs, Harris said. The 4 p.m. weekday junior varsity meets have been so popular with other teams that six are scheduled for next year, he said. Those entry fees are a revenue source for the school’s athletic program, he said.
Hauling mats out of the new practice facility to the gym would be costly and hard on the expensive mats, Harris said.
Those heading other junior high and high school programs also want more space, Harris said. Leaving the wrestling program at the South Gym, which he said would require repairing the leaking roof, could free up room in the auditorium for those programs, he said.
“I see a lot of benefits all the way around,” he said. “Leave wrestling out of the equation.”
Board member Ande Parks said he had considered the move because of concern there would be other maintenance costs on top of the estimated $50,000 to repair the South Gym’s roof and because of the money the district could earn from the gym’s sale.
Board member Chad Christie thanked Harris for his comments, adding he had assumed moving the wrestling practice room to a remodeled auditorium would be a good thing for the program.
Superintendent Paul Dorathy said he asked Harris to address the board after he shared his concerns with him and Baldwin High School Principal Rob McKim. Other district staff members will be able to express their ideas for the proposed remodel during a meeting with Kevin Grieshar of the district’s architectural firm, DLR Group, and one of his associates, Dorathy said.
In June, Greishar presented the board three options to remodel the auditorium costing from $475,000 to $800,000. The board has discussed using about $600,000 remaining in the 2008 bond issue to help pay for the remodeling.
Dorathy said the architects would also have a public meeting to explain the options to patrons, a meeting board members have said was needed.
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