Southeastern schools debating new gymnasium

The Southeastern Local Schools Board of Education is moving forward with discussions to build a new gymnasium on the campus of Miami View Elementary School.

The board listened to three representatives from construction companies during a recent board meeting to see what their ideas would be if they were selected to build the gym. The board of education hasn’t decided if they’re going to build the new gym, but, Southeastern Superintendent David Shea said it appears the board is moving in that direction.

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“It’s becoming more of a reality,” he said. “They feel good about pressing forward and looking at what type of building and actual cost and then saying, ‘OK.’ At some point we need to say we are going to move forward.”

The gymnasium would be about 20,000 square feet. It would include a full-sized basketball court with goals on each side, side-by-side volleyball practice courts, a two-lane track and a separate wrestling room.

The district hasn’t released possible cost information to the public yet. The board will first have to decide on a final plan before that’s known, Shea said. It’s expected the district would pay for the project out of its general fund.

If approved, the gym would be built in a field next to Miami View School.

Southeastern Board President Tony Entler said the project can help the schools and the community. Right now, it’s not uncommon for young players to finish basketball practice late in the evenings because the school’s gym must be used first by high school and junior high team players. That presents problems for students and their parents, he said.

“You have some kids not coming home until 9 or 9:30 p.m. in the dead of winter,” Entler said. “That is not safe.”

He hopes to allow locals to use the new building.

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“It’s not just a gym,” Entler said. “We’ve talked about selecting some community members, and after a background check, letting them open the building up in the mornings so the community can use it also. That way we can get the most out of it.”

The building will be able to serve several uses, he said, including recess space for elementary students during the winter and for physical education classes to protect the Miami View wooden gym floor. It could also serve as a place that community members can use during bad weather.

The new building won’t be the home of the Southeastern High School basketball programs. They will continue to play at the high school. The potential new gymnasium would, however, be a spot for the newer wrestling program.

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More than 30 parents and community members showed up at a school forum earlier this year and told the board members they approved of the project.

Phillip Wetherholt, who has a grandchild in the district, said he believes the new building would be beneficial.

“If they got the money to do it,” he said, “I think it is a good use of money.”

He said it would be a good idea for the district to help the youth sports finish their practices before it gets late.

“This is a good school district,” he said. “One of the better ones around.”

Those with questions about the new gym may contact Shea at 937-462-8364.

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