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October 21, 2008 3:01 am

Decision on gym the right one

Written by Tribune Staff

Last week's school board decision to raze the old PHS gym and build the new middle school in its place was the right choice.

It was a decision that didn't come easily. Board members, along with city officials and members of the recreation board, considered at length the possibility of using the building for another purpose, namely a community recreation center.

However, in the end, they decided that it just wasn't the right fit. The building is not air conditioned, and it would have needed significant upgrades to bring it up to code and to make it functional as a rec center. Most importantly, no clear source of funding for the endeavor was identified — and neither the school district, the rec board, nor the city wanted to take responsibility for future operations and maintenance.

We applaud the hard work and determination of the group that spearheaded the effort to save the gym. While their efforts were unsuccessful in this case, one thing became clear: Many members of the community feel there is a need for a public rec center sometime in the future.

For now, the school district will benefit from moving forward with its plans for a middle school, and, at some point — when a funding source is identified at the outset — we hope community members will support construction of a new rec center just as strongly.