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The Rambler

Community Weighs in on Adapted Proposal for Activities Complex

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A renovation of the current grandstands (pictured above) is one component of the new activities proposal.

A renovation of the current grandstands (pictured above) is one component of the new activities proposal.

Photo courtesy of Jeff Bissen

Photo courtesy of Jeff Bissen

A renovation of the current grandstands (pictured above) is one component of the new activities proposal.

Ryan Schnurr, Contributor

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Come February, those 18 and older who are registered to vote living in the Glenwood Community School District will be able to vote on the impending activities complex. If that sentence causes a sensation of Deja Vu, it’s because the community has been here before. Last spring, a vote for a larger, more ambitious project failed by a significant margin. Because of this, the Glenwood Board of education along with Superintendent Devin Embray had to analyze and then adapt the plan going forward.

The Rambler has covered the changes to plan, the including how it will be funded, and detailed the current state of the track as well as the multiple programs that utilize its facilities deservingness of an upgrade in previous articles.

The revisions seen in the new proposition, were made based on community feedback.

“After the last vote, we did exit polling on just over 700 hundred people,” said Embray, at the first activities complex forum held at the Glenwood Community High School auditorium. “Which told us, a lot of different perspectives. Commonly heard was that it was too big of a project and tax implication,’” Embray said. “They (people) wanted it scaled back and cheaper.”

Due to these community concerns, a compromise was made, as the turf field and two bridges were removed from the plan. In addition, the board made perhaps the most important adjustment, reallocating funds to contribute two million dollars to the overall cost of the complex.

“The $200,000 allocation per year is coming from the SAVE (Secure Advanced Vision for Education) fund, which had to be reprioritized from the first vote to this vote,” said Embray. “The district board decided that in order to come up with $200,000 a year, they had to make the determination that were going to have a lower reserve in the SAVE fund and be okay with that, and also prioritize some other work in the district that they were doing to push towards this project.”

Overall, the preliminary estimation for the $5.7 million bid is considered conservative. Turf, which is the first alternate, could be paid for by left over funds, or potentially privately funded through donations or fundraising.

“People have talked with the Youth Action Committee about the possibility of donating money to that initiative so that turf could happen,” said Embray. “Turf was a big contention based on feedback from folks so taking it out and having it be a donated or fundraised item or having it only be in if the cost were low enough for it to come in is a positive for most people.”

Additionally, if the vote passed, an official design would be completed early this spring, with an exact bid in late June or early July, and ground being broken in the fall. The entire activities complex’s construction would take 12-18 months, and it would be strategically timed to not displace home football games in the fall and home track meets in the spring.

A New sports complex could also have an impact on Glenwoods commerce and growth.

“Improvements to the complex would hopefully increase the number of visitors to Glenwood, who could then visit local businesses before of after attending events at the complex,” said Mayor Ron Kohn. “For families with children looking to move into the Metropolitan area of Omaha-Council Bluffs-Bellevue, the better our school facilities are, the better are the chances of their choosing to live in Glenwood.”  

Still, there are those who are against a new activity complex. Some valuing other facility upgrades such as enlarging the high school band room over the need for an improved complex.

“I was upset when the community was talking about making the new football complex because I saw the difficulty that has come along with our drastic increase of members in the band,” said Junior Abby Lorimor. “We have split the band due to fire codes in the band room. This is a problem with our 140 piece band and all of us unable to be in our band room at one time.”

Speaking on the matter of the band room, Embray said, “The vast majority of band rooms across the state are over occupancy at some point in the day,  and if they have a very good program at all and they are increasing in numbers, they are probably going to be over occupancy. The issue is once its reported to the state then you have to do something about it.”

Embray then discussed the future of band room “So our response to that because it was reported to the state that our band program may have been over occupancy for that room, we split the bands into a JV and varsity band. In the initial part it’s going to be a little bit difficult with the auditorium and moving back and forth between the two, what we’ve come up with in scheduling for next year it will be that they will not need to use the auditorium. I am aware the fine arts program in particular the band program are wanting to do some enhancements to their physical space, I don’t know those details but it’s something we’ll have to look at and prioritize as we move forward to see if we can reallocate space within the current space or if we have to add space.”

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