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Copyright 2014 Journal Sentinel Inc.
Milwaukee Journal Sentinel (Wisconsin)
EVAN FRANK,, Living Lake Country Reporter

An anonymous supporter has ignited a project to renovate Arrowhead High School's girls and boys locker rooms used primarily by the basketball teams.

With renovation costs estimated at $505,000, the donor plans to give at least $275,000, and possibly an additional $50,000 to $60,000.

On Wednesday, Aug. 6, a tour of the North Campus lower locker rooms provided an inside look at the conceptual budget and room design.

Varsity basketball head coaches Rick Witte (girls) and Craig Haase (boys) spoke of the different locker room needs, including ventilation work to alleviate warm and humid conditions.

Haase noted the ceilings would have to be raised to get better air flow in the locker rooms.

"They are very low," Haase said. "You can notice the heat right away. It's always warm. We're hoping to raise the ceilings up, get some better air flow through. Get some duct work and some ventilation work that will really improve that air flow and make it feel like a better space."

Buildings and Grounds Director Kevin Lipscomb - who led the tour - noted that the locker rooms haven't been heavily renovated since they were built in the early 1970s.

"When Rick and I have talked, and I approached (the donor), it was we want a space, too, that the kids can feel good about," Haase explained. "The kids don't even want to be down in that space because it's an uncomfortable space. Whether it's the entryway for the door, whether it's the low ceilings, whether it's the poor facilities, they want to feel better about the space."

Another addition would be a lounge and film room for both the girls and boys basketball teams. Space and availability would never be an issue as one team would have an away game the same night as the other team's home game.

The potential remodeling would update the boy's bathroom to be ADA accessible.

According to a blueprint of the renovation, the two bathrooms are to be bid separately from the rest of the project.

A second option being considered would not have a media room.

Haase explained the donor's thoughts about the renovation.

"Obviously, he's donated a lot of money," Haase said. "That money can only go so far with so much. He came back with the concept of space ready. Demolition takes place, walls will get put in, electrical gets put in, floors and ceilings get put in. The only thing that doesn't get put initially on Day 1 would be the furnishings. Which would be lockers right away on Day 1 and whatever signage or technology. That would come on a later date."

Haase said the money is in Arrowhead's account, and the donor would like to see the project move forward.

If the school board does not approve the project, the money will be returned to the donor.

According to business manager Steve Kopecky, the space-ready part of the project would cost around $319,000.

If the project moves forward, renovation would likely occur in the fall and into the winter, which coincides with the basketball season.

"Rick and I have talked, and we'd make it work," Haase said. "There's locker rooms upstairs that we could use for practice. We'd have to go to a classroom down here during games, but we'd make it work."

To cover the remaining costs, the district would first look to its reserve funds.

The district's commitment, at this point, would be $153,000.

Superintendent Craig Jefson said the board is expected to decide whether to use reserve funds to pay for the showers and locker room area at its Aug. 13 meeting.


August 12, 2014




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