This morning, the Monett City Council was expected to give final approval on the sale of the gymnastics center to the Monett R-1 School District. The availability of the city facility will change a number of plans under consideration by the school.
Located at 2150 Park St., a short distance from the high school, the city's gymnastics center went up for sale after the previous operator asked to be released from the lease. The school district was the only bidder on the property.
Superintendent Dr. John Jungmann said the gymnastics center offers an immediate solution to expanding the wrestling room. The school board had exploratory plans drawn up by Sapp and Associates to punch a hole in the north wall of the gymnasium and extend the wrestling room north onto the existing lawn.
"The add-on to the gym would cost much more than the gymnastics building," Jungmann said. "The gymnastics building will also have much more space."
The gymnastics building will be used primarily as a new wrestling center. Once wrestling moves to its new location, the weight room can be expanded into the existing wrestling room by a simple process of punching holes in the current wall between the two rooms and adding one other wall.
"It's been hard to get all the students to work out at the same time with the space we have," Jungmann said. "We will make both rooms into one weight and fitness facility."
The gymnastics building will serve as a location for wrestling meets as well as practice sessions. Its balcony will provide spectator viewing.
In the off-season, the building can serve as headquarters for the cheerleading, dance team and winter guard programs, as well as an indoor practice area for other sports.
The school district does not plan to acquire the gymnastics equipment. Jungmann said the city is trying to sell the equipment and possibly even the floor mat to the previous leaser. The center's concrete floor will be covered with a softer, all-purpose floor, possibly with artificial turf. Wrestling mats will be placed on top of this new surface.
Having resolved the future of the north side of the high school, Jungmann said plans for a performing arts center have taken shape as well. Attaching a storm shelter on the north side of the gym incorporating the wrestling room expansion has been ruled out.
The vision for a performing arts center and storm shelter for the high school and the Southwest Area Career Center (SWACC) has moved to the east side of the high school, next to the band room.
In that location, the shelter will be closer to the main SWACC entrance. A hallway entrance will be built for high school students and a separate entrance for the public facing the sidewalk.
Jungmann expects the school district will take possession of the gymnastics building in June. According to Jungmann, the gymnastics building is in "great shape," and renovations on the high school will be minimal. Both projects are targeted for completion by Aug. 1.
"The board is very excited about the opportunity to acquire a facility that will serve wrestling and the other programs," Jungmann said. "It gives us a lot more space and allows us to address safety concerns."