Mason City School Board discusses possibility of adding auxiliary gym to high school campus

MASON CITY — The Mason City School Board during a workshop session this week discussed the possibility of adding an auxiliary gymnasium and a new swimming pool to the high school campus.

The argument has been made that another gym should be considered not only for practice space for high school athletic programs but also for classes.

Superintendent Dave Versteeg says the facility wouldn’t just be used for basketball practices. “Practice and competition for all competitive teams, from cheerleaders to basketball to softball to track to baseball, to community groups. It runs the gambit of a space need.”

Board member Brent Seaton says several sports teams have their practices and events spread out at the different schools across the community. “As I was looking for a parking spot tonight, I was thinking about the gyms because right now we have the middle schoolers playing basketball over at Lincoln, high school teams practicing over at Roosevelt. There’s ice on the roads, there’s all sorts of travel that takes place. We kind of expect young kids to get to these places. I really would like to advocate for us looking into getting those gyms built.”

Seaton has a daughter that plays on a junior varsity girls basketball team at the high school. He questions the impact on students with some teams practicing at 6 o’clock in the morning on a regular basis. “Almost every day this week, I’m going to be up at 5:15 in the morning, my daughter will be getting up at 5:20, we’ll be getting in the cold car and she’ll be at the gym at practice at 6 o’clock in the morning because of the gym space issue. We have people in that gym from 6:00 in the morning to 9:00 at night. The issue is that we know the kids needed sleep. When they get up that early, it impacts their entire day.”

Board member Scott Warren questions the need for an auxiliary gym. “To do it just with the idea of basketball, having a sufficient amount (of gym space), which is the way it’s been sold to me in the past. I just think that we have sufficient gym space for basketball. I’m sorry if people have to travel, but I went through that, lots of other parents have gone through that. We have smart enough administrators, hell we’re going to pay them more, so consequently they ought to be able to sit down with the coaches, they ought to be able to sit down with (the superintendent) and the AD and get some kind of equitable arrangement as far as practicing.”

No action was taken at the meeting, with school district staff planning to present the board with more information on the costs of construction in the near future.

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