Gymnasts hoping for new home

This article submitted by Linda Stelling on 12/1/99.

The school gymnastics team asked the Paynesville Area School Board for permission to move to another site at the board's Tuesday night meeting.

Matt Dickhausen, activities director, is negotiating with the Lake Koronis Assembly Grounds (LKAG) board to lease their auditorium for the gymnasts. During the winter months, the LKAG auditorium is seldom used.

Deb Nehowig, gymnastics coach, informed the board they spend anywhere from 35 to 45 minutes each day setting up and taking down their equipment. This time could be better used practicing.

Nehowig mentioned by moving to the LKAG, they would not need to set up and take down their equipment daily. The equipment could remain in place unless the facility would be used by another outside group on a weekend. Then the gymnasts would take down their equipment and put it in storage until Monday.

At present, the gymnastics team practices on half of the middle school gym. The other half is used by the ninth grade boys and girls basketball teams.

Nehowig explained the gymnastics team is crowded using only half of the gym. The girls doing the vault are right up against the wall. "If we make a wrong move on the vault, we could hit the wall," Jen Mayer, gymnast, said.

Gymnast Krysta Larson informed the board that they can't unroll the mats all the way because there isn't enough space.

Sophomore Kelly Fenske said another hazard is that if they make a mistake in their floor routine, they could hit the bleachers or wall.

Nehowig showed the board a video featuring the LKAG auditorium and the crowded conditions of their present practice area.

One of the board members asked about seating for spectators if gymnastic meets were to be held in the LKAG auditorium. Nehowig said they would use folding chairs along the walls for spectators. She added that Sauk Centre, Litchfield, and Benson don't hold their meets on school grounds.

Nehowig said the gymnasts are trying to fund this move on their own. They do not expect to receive any funds from the budget this year.

Currently, the gymnasts have received donations from their mini-camp, $350; the Lettermen's Club, $300; the Basketball Boosters, $200; and parents and coaches, $225. The team will also be working six dates this winter in the concessions stand where they will earn 25 percent of that night's profit.

"Because of our present space crunch, I feel the program will benefit by moving to another location," Nehowig said.

The gymnasts would ride buses to the LKAG for practice. Parents would pick them up after practice.

Superintendent Howard Caldwell cautioned the school board about potential implications. "Other groups could come forward requesting funds if we provide funding in the budget next year for the LKAG lease," he said.

The school board approved the gymnasts proposal contingent upon the LKAG board approving the lease. Kyle Nehowig, activities coordinator, said he would bring the lease back to the next board meeting on Dec. 7 for the board's approval. If everything goes well, he added, the team would like to be practicing at the LKAG before Christmas.

In other business:
•The board approved a two-year contract for the food service personnel. "Their raises are consistent with what we have done thus far with our other support staff," Caldwell said.

The food service personnel will receive a 10 percent increase the first year (1999-2000) and a six percent increase the second year of their contract (2000-2001).

Caldwell said the district is still negotiating contracts with the other support staff and teachers. Custodians and administration have already signed contracts.

•The board approved extracurricular assignments for Grayling Trees, ninth grade boys basketball coach; and Sara Spanier and Gary Haglund, assistant gymnastic coaches.

•The board approved a long-term substitute teaching contract with Pat Ryan. She will fill in for her husband, Bill Ryan, agriculture teacher, who is on medical leave until May.

•Al Habben, district auditor, appeared before the school board to present the 1998-1999 school audit. More information will appear in next week's Paynesville Press.

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