By Samantha Pidde Herald Staff Writer
The Clinton Herald
---- — CAMANCHE— Middle school and junior high school students involved in the Camanche wrestling program currently practice on the Camanche Middle School’s stage, sharing space with a variety of other clubs and events.
Now, a renovation project is being considered to create a middle school wrestling room in the high school.
For no more than $35,000, Camanche Jr. High Wrestling Head Coach Ryan Kinkaid hopes TO create a safer and easier environment for the middle school and junior wrestling programs. During the Camanche Board of Education meeting Monday night, he explained the difficulties of using the stage for wrestling.
“It’s always a battle there to utilize that space,” Kinkaid said.
Currently, the stage is used for general storage, band and choir concerts, fund-raising events, holiday programs, preschool graduation programs, physical education activities and as an indoor batting cage for both the Camanche and Amateur Athletic Union baseball teams. Kinkaid said as these uses overlap, the wrestling program has to rearrange its mats, equipment and schedules. He also pointed out potential safety concerns due to foreign objects on the stage and the poor condition and coverage of the floor and wall mats.
“I, as a coach, want better for those kids,” Kinkaid said. He currently has 19 junior high athletes practicing on the stage.
Kinkaid proposed Monday night that a wrestling room be created out of a mostly unused space near the existing high school wrestling room. This area currently houses an old wrestling locker room, with a coach’s office, restrooms and showers. He told the board the space is rarely used, except for a few basketball games each year.
The proposal includes knocking down the walls to the office and other rooms to form one large space that could be used for both middle school and junior wrestling programs. It would also be available as a multi-purpose room.
“Certainly it would be better use of the space than as an unused locker room,” Kinkaid said.
Camanche coaches, staff and parents have spent almost two years on planning this project. During this time, the group secured a $17,500 grant from the Clinton County Development Association and $2,500 from Archer Daniels Midland. The rest of the project will be funded through junior wrestling funds.
“It’s not going to cost the district anything to do this,” Kinkaid said.
The project has currently received four bids, ranging from $25,000 to $33,000. Kinkaid said he hopes to start construction as soon as school ends this year, so the room will be ready before the first day of school in August.
“I think it’s a good improvement, all in all,” Board President Mike Dunn said.
Superintendent Tom Parker told the board one problem that could arise would be if asbestos was found in the walls. With that school having been built in the 1970s and the room in question near the boiler room, he said it was a definite possibility. The district’s policy is whenever asbestos is found, it is abated at the district’s cost.