I’m sure most people are aware that there has been construction going on at the football field throughout the summer, and we are excited to have what will be a facility to provide our students with additional and improved experiences from an extra-curricular perspective. That building, first and foremost, is designed to be a wrestling practice facility for our very successful wrestling teams.
Over the years, the wrestlers have practiced in the high school in what we call the upper gym. Various other groups, mostly sports teams, find themselves competing for that space, which becomes cumbersome. Due to the nature of wrestling, their mats need to be cleaned daily, and any disruption of these mats require a re-cleaning of the mats, resulting in the loss of practice time. The space was also used by indoor track and all levels of the baseball and softball teams. It was simply not fair to all the parties involved to have them continually fight over the same space during the same seasons. An additional wrestling room has been on our wish list for many years, but it has never reached the top of the priority list or had the funding match the desire to build this building…until now.
So, how are we paying for this building?
During the construction project that occurred in 2007 and 2008, we worked with the State of Ohio to build two new elementary buildings and renovate the middle school and high school, for a project total of $63 million. About fifty percent of that $63 million was very generously provided to us by the taxpayers of the Wapakoneta City Schools. When construction projects are completed, school districts in the state of Ohio need to “settle up,” so to speak. That is a very long process, and in fact, it did not happen until about a year ago when we were finally able to reconcile the results of the building project with the State of Ohio. It is not uncommon for school districts to owe the state additional dollars when that process is done, nor is it uncommon for school districts to have money left over. We were fortunate to have money remaining from the interest earned on our local dollars that we were holding onto until the project closed to determine if we owed the state any money. Since we did not owe the state any money, that resulted in our having about $900,000 in interest earned that we could only use for permanent improvement. If you do not know, permanent improvement dollars are dollars that can typically be used for things like buildings, books, and buses. This fund surplus provided us with the opportunity to construct the wrestling practice facility at the football field.
Why is it at the football field?
We looked at many options and worked with many different people, including the Board of Education, wrestling coaches, supporters of wrestling, and also the athletic boosters to determine the best options during the planning phase. Placing the structure at the high school was considered. However, when we combined that with the need for us to have an additional locker room space at the football facility for other athletic events, like football and track, we decided that the best and most economical use of our dollars was to place it at the football field.
We are excited to provide improved facilities for not only the wrestlers, but all of our athletic teams, an opportunity to either have new space or space in which they no longer have to compete for practice time.