Mt. Vernon Register-News

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July 8, 2014

Waltonville looks at gym projects

WALTONVILLE — Several large-scale maintenance projects are set to be completed at Waltonville High School this summer, including the replacement of the gym roof and floor, and the installation of new bleachers.

In addition, the gym walls are being repainted and an upgraded heating system will be put in for the gym and locker room. The gym windows are also being filled in.

All together, the projects will cost a total of roughly $300,000 to $350,000. Half of the funding will come from Illinois State Board of Education grants and the district will pay the remaining portion.

Improving safety for students was the motivating factor behind the projects, said Superintendent Shlonda Horton.

“The gym was 60 plus years old and the floor had some dead spots in it, some soft spots,” Horton said. “Our bleachers were not up to code. … The safety factor is huge.”

Horton said the new bleachers will have walkways with rails, providing easier and safer access for students and the public. The former bleachers had no walkways.

She added the upgraded heating system should also be a vast improvement since it will be a gas fired system instead of a steam system.

A gas fired system is more efficient and better for the gym's wood floor, Horton said.

Paul Lunsford, the school district's architect, said the ISBE grants provided essential funding for these projects. Since Waltonville is a tax cap district, it has “very limited funding sources,” he said.

“We were able to capitalize on an ISBE energy grant for the roof (and) maintenance grants for the floor and bleachers,” Lunsford said. “It was a good win-win for everyone.”

He said the maintenance projects reflect well on the Waltonville school district and community as a whole.

“I think Waltonville is a very proud community, proud of its heritage and definitely proud of its educational institution,” Lunsford said.

Work is ongoing on all the projects and they are scheduled to be completed by mid-August, Horton said.

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