WCSD signs off on new weightlifting equipment

Weight room upgrades are on the way.

The Warren County School District board unanimously approved almost $245,000 for renovations and new equipment for the weight rooms at the district’s four high schools.

The upgrades will serve the physical education curriculum and the district’s athletic programs.

“We have a curriculum need and a safety need,” Superintendent Amy Stewart said. “A lot of the equipment that’s out there, it needs to go, whether we replace it or not.”

“We want to do what’s best for each school,” she said.

The situations at the schools, and the renovation and equipment costs, vary by the space available. The costs at each school are: Eisenhower — $58,447; Sheffield — $60,175; Warren — $71,473; and Youngsville — $54,441.

Board member Jeff Labesky asked about equipment that was recently donated to Sheffield High School’s weight room.

Supervisor of District-wide Athletics and Co-Curricular Activities Rick Gignac said the new equipment will better utilize the space available at Sheffield and the other equipment will be moved out.

In addition to equipment and flooring, the upgrades will include key-coded entry systems to make sure students who are using the rooms are properly supervised, Stewart said.

Board members asked for clarification on where the dollars were coming from.

“I thought we had asked if we should postpone the vote because we are in the middle of budget season,” board member Joe Colosimo said.

“I wasn’t prepared to spend a quarter of a million dollars on weight equipment tonight,” board member Elizabeth Huffman said.

“I know that we didn’t budget for this expense.”

“It’s an item that there are dollars we can allocate for,” Director of Business Services Jim Grosch said. “There was no line item at the beginning of the year that said, ‘We are going to spend this amount on a weight room.'”

“We came up with two big pots of unexpected, one-time dollars,” board member Arthur Stewart said.

He said he would support the weight room funding because of the ‘historic’ and safety considerations.

Stewart looked back to when the board reduced funding to athletic programs due to budget constriction.

“Every year there has been a request to put money back” into athletics, he said. “We have never replenished our athletic dollars. Sometimes I wanted to vote for the athletics because it’s become a burden for the booster groups.”

But, there were never dollars for it.

“That’s why I would support the use of this money, it has that history component and the safety component,” Stewart said. “Otherwise, I would rather see it go through the regular budget process.”

Music and art

Former district teacher and administrator Ruth Nelson kept elementary art, music, and library programs in front of the board.

The district is looking for ways to add technology to elementary schedules. One of the possibilities outlined at a previous meeting was to remove art, music, and library, from one grade each.

“The creative arts, the library, is so important to those young people,” Nelson said. “Don’t sell the younger kids short. Please find a way” to keep all of those specials at every grade level.

“We’re continuing to dialogue on this subject,” board president Donna Zariczny said. “We are hearing what’s being said. Administration is working with educators in the kindergarten through five environment to figure out a way to make things work and keep the programs alive for all grade levels.”