Janesville30.9°

Officials hope to pin down wrestling-room solution

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FRANK J. SCHULTZ
February 19, 2008
— Plans to expand locker rooms and coaches’ and teachers’ offices at Parker High School might have to be reworked.

That is one of the solutions being looked at to allay concerns about the school’s wrestling-practice room.


The old practice room is scheduled to be lost as locker rooms, offices and showers expand as part of Parker’s expansion project.


Wrestling coaches and others apparently thought the referendum project would provide them a new practice room.


But that room was cut out of plans in order to save money in the $70.8 million referendum in 2006, Director of Business Services Doug Bunton told the school board’s buildings and grounds/finance committee, which met Monday at Parker.


Four school board members seemed concerned or upset that plans were somehow changed without anyone telling those in charge of wrestling.


Plans now call for wrestlers to practice on one side of the big, new gymnasium that will be built on the school’s west side.


Wrestling backers have raised safety concerns for practices that would be held in a room without padded walls and in a place where other gym noise would hamper practices.


Bunton indicated two options under consideration:


-- Find enough space in the basement athletics area for both a wrestling practice room and the expanded locker rooms and offices that already are planned for that area.


-- Find a way for the gymnastics and wrestling teams to share the new “multi-purpose” room that is dedicated now to gymnastics.


Board member Tim Cullen noted that plans call for a new gym with four basketball courts, the multi-purpose room and a big, new weight room.


“Adding all that space, and we’ve managed not to meet the safety concerns of a very successful sport,” Cullen said, clearly upset that the board was dealing with the issue so late in the process.


Board member Lori Stottler wondered whether the problem was less of a safety issue and more of a change that simply inconveniences the wrestling program.


“We’re far enough into the construction process now that whatever we do, it’s going to cost,” Stottler said.


Cullen, however, suggested that taking space out of the locker room-office area might be done without adding much cost.


Gymnasium construction is expected to start in March or April and continue to about April 1, 2009. The new locker room/office area would be remodeled after the gym is done.


Bunton said he planned to meet with the architect for a possible new plan for the basement locker room area. Committee chairman DuWayne Severson told Bunton to return to the committee in a week or two with options.


Stottler said she wanted to make sure the locker rooms would be secure places for students’ belongings, and she didn’t want to see any solutions that hadn’t been discussed in advance with the athletics staff.



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