By Amy Kent Herald Staff Writer
The Clinton Herald
---- — FULTON, Ill. — Students and faculty at River Bend Middle School in Fulton can expect construction in the form of resurfacing the school’s deteriorating gymnasium floor sometime in the near future.
Discussion on the project began at the start of the school year and thanks to community support and a little help from the district office, the River Bend Athletic Boosters could move forward with construction on the floor as soon as this summer.
“We’re fortunate enough, we’ve had some pretty good and successful fundraisers throughout the years,” athletic booster president Bob Kuehl said. “It was just brought to our attention at the beginning of the school year and we’ve got some money in the bank so we said ‘let’s spend it on the floor.’”
The project idea came after the booster club resurfaced the east gym floor in 2010 and the west gym floor over the summer at Fulton High School. Both floors received so much positive feedback from students, teachers and members of the community that they have extended the project to the middle school.
“The group decided, you know we’ve done the other two and they’ve been well-received. The players and coaches really love it, as well as the fans, and it’s been a long time since (the middle school gym) has been stripped down and properly refinished,” Kuehl said. “So it was a good decision coming from the athletic irector.”
To move forward with the project, River Bend Athletic Director Josh Knuth brought the idea to the school board at a meeting last week, presenting a quote of $10,745 from the refinishing company that did the previous two floors and asking for assistance from the district’s budget.
Prior to the refinishing of the floors at the high school, the district typically paid to have them cleaned and varnished for $1,013 each year. At last week’s meeting, the boosters requested the $1,013 be the district’s contribution to the refinishing cost.
However, feeling the responsibility to maintain the structure and integrity of the school district’s property, the River Bend School Board offered to pay an additional $987 making their total contribution $2,000.
“We own the building and my opinion is I think we should go higher than ($1,013), in good faith,” school board member Eric Fish said. “The boosters do a tremendous amount for the district and part of our charter is to keep our buildings in good condition and you’ve seen that (floor); that’s not good condition.”’
If the bid remains at $10,745 once the boosters set an official construction timeline, the district’s portion will cover 20 percent of the final cost, a portion Keuhl is happy to see the school board approve.
“It’s kind of the district’s responsibility to maintain, but as an athletic booster group we know that all the kids are affected by the gym floor,” Kuehl said. “We want to keep them safe first of all, but we also want them to feel proud of what they’re playing on. So it’s nice to see the board has kind of upped their contribution.”