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Tuesday, January 9th, 2018

St. Henry boosters raise $1M for facility

By Sydney Albert
ST. HENRY - The St. Henry Booster Club so far has raised about $1 million for a proposed new athletic building and members expect more donations to help reach the $1.5 million goal.
Booster Club member Eric Huelskamp said the current building design by Garmann Miller & Associates would place the facility in the lot east of the high school. The roughly 19,400-square-foot building is designed for athletic, school and community use and includes a weight room and two basketball courts.
According to club documents, early cost estimates for the new building were $1.8 million, but after meeting with local businesses, boosters felt $1.5 million was a "solid figure" based on quotes and willingness to provide discounted materials.
The roughly $1 million the club has raised so far includes booster savings, a booster pre-approved loan and community donations. The new deadline to receive donations or pledge forms will be the end of this school year. The club will give an update on the project at the June school board meeting and will ask board members how to proceed.
"If the funds are close to the required amount, we may decide to wait. If we don't feel the funds will be raised, the boosters will start working with Garmann and Miller to design a building within the budget. … This likely reduces the scope from two gyms to one gym," according to a club statement.
Work on the project started more than five years ago when supporters expressed a desire to upgrade the football field complex, according to the boosters. Lack of locker room space, insufficient athletic trainer space and a smaller-than-needed weight room were all concerns. Officials decided the funds needed to upgrade the current facilities could be better used on a new, larger facility.
Huelskamp said the new facility would help satisfy the community need for more gym space and also provide space for STEM and FFA programs and large classrooms.
In other business, board members,
• approved a 100 percent, 10-year tax abatement for ITR Manufacturing. The company will directly pay the school district $3,325 per year in lieu of property taxes.
• held their organizational meeting and welcomed new member Gail Hess. Regular board meetings will remain at 7 p.m. the second Monday of the month in the media center.
• approved the contract for Jennifer Bruns for district treasurer.
• hired Matt Thobe as head track coach.
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