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New gym/community center proposed for Troy

| February 15, 2007 11:00 PM

By GWEN ALBERS Western News Reporter

Troy School Board on Tuesday night discussed building a new gymnasium that could also serve as a community center.

School officials plan to ask the public for input.

Hot Springs High School did something similar for $1 million.

The board also discussed an estimated $300,000 project that would involve renovating the current gym, auditorium and science lab at Troy High School.

"The (gym) floor is really bad," said district superintendent Brady Selle. "It's warped and has some dead spots in it. The other problem is the concession stand and bathrooms are way down the hallway."

It was suggested adding onto the gym lobby for concession stands and bathrooms.

School board member Steve Straley suggested talking to residents about how they feel about building a new gymnasium. It could be done during an upcoming election.

"We can go to a polling place and set up a table outside for information," Straley said. "I would really like to get an idea of what the public would like. Let's poll and then we can move forward."

Either project would require the district to borrow money. Residents must vote to support applying for a bond issue, which is a loan.

"The old gym would be less expensive, but the con is we would be spending an extreme amount of money on an old facility." Straley said. "The new could be a community and school facility, but it will be three times the cost."

The new building could have a gym, rest rooms, concession area, weight room and possibly racquet ball courts, Selle said.

"We would like to make it more of a community center," he said.

The building could be constructed in the teachers' parking lot.

"The (current school) buildings make a U shape, and it could be there in the middle of the U," Selle said. "There are some serious issues that would complicate construction there. We have underground fuel tanks and there are power lines."

School officials also are looking at nearby land.

"We've been negotiating with people, but we need to find out what people really want," Selle said. "It would be a shame to go ahead with a plan to find voters don't support it."

In a related matter, Selle is negotiating for used auditorium chairs to replace the 300 wooden seats in the Troy auditorium. He found the same number at a Jehovah's Witnesses Kingdom Hall under renovation in Kalispell. The chairs have padded seats and wooden backs.

"I think we'd be a fool not to jump on this, especially when they're in our colors," said school board member Steve Garrett.

"New ones are prohibitively expensive," Selle added.