The Weyauwega-Fremont Booster Club is preparing to raise $400,000 for a community fitness center addition at the high school.
“For a long time, we’ve been hearing about the need,” said Tim Cullen, president of the booster club.
Last month, the school board committed $400,000 to the project, if the booster club raises $400,000 by June 1.
The district’s share of the costs would come from its general operating fund, which has a balance of about $3.5 million.
Since that Nov. 26 meeting, the booster club has met twice to move forward with its fundraising plan.
“First and foremost, it will be for the students, but it will also be open to the community,” said Ben Claassen, a booster club member.
Plans call for an approximately 6,000-square-foot addition to be built off the existing locker room, on the east end of the high school.
The addition would include a weight and fitness area, aerobics room and locker rooms,
The total cost of the project – including equipment – is estimated at $800,000.
“We want to move forward. It’s long overdue,” Claassen said. “We want to get it done and move on to the next project.”
Cullen said the current weight room students use has enough space for about 12 students at most.
Two years ago, the booster club received its first earmarked donation for a fitness center.
At this fall’s first ever Hall of Fame banquet, the idea was unveiled.
The booster club then presented it to the school board on Nov. 12, with the board’s commitment to match the $400,000 in raised funds if the club meets the June 1 deadline.
Claassen said the June 1 deadline is a reasonable one.
“I think both the booster club and the school district wanted a deadline. We want to capture the excitement. We want to raise the money and build it,” he said.
There is not a fitness center in Weyauwega or Fremont.
“It is a need. It’s been a targeted need, but no one had taken the next step,” Claassen said.
Late last summer, Cullen and Claassen met with District Administrator Scott Bleck to talk about what the booster club’s next project could be.
The club’s most recent projects include raising money for the new scoreboards in the gym.
“We paid for one-third, and three local banks split the rest,” Claassen said. “The project before that was completed in late spring to early summer. It was lights for the softball and baseball fields.”
A fitness center, which could be used by both students and community members, became the club’s next targeted project.
The booster club paid for architectural renderings. It also set up sub-committees to reach out to local businesses, residents and alumni.
Donations to the booster club are tax deductible and may be dropped at First National Bank in Weyauwega, where the booster club has an account.
Those who want additional information about the project may call Claassen at 920-407-4431, email the booster club at firstname.lastname@example.org or call Dan Knecht, booster club treasurer, at First National Bank at 920-867-4611.
Claassen said the club anticipates there would be a modest charge for community members to use the fitness center.
The project design includes locker rooms with showers, so people would be able to use the fitness center and showers before heading to work.
The aerobic room would accommodate up to 30 people, Claassen said.
It would be open space, with multi uses, including classes for students and adults.
The fitness center would have commercial grade treadmills, stairclimbers and ellipticals, as well as free weights and Nautilus equipment.