PLEASANT HILL — Recognizing the increased need for a year-round community space for all to use, Newton Local School’s $2.5 million multi-purpose field house project is nearing its completion.
The 17,000 square-foot facility is expected to be completed by mid-December. Superintendent Pat McBride said the Newton Fieldhouse and Community Center will have a dedication at 2 p.m. Sunday, Jan. 5, 2020.
“When it’s all said and done, it’s our hope this center brings people together,” said McBride during a tour of the facility in early October. “We feel like this facility will serve as a focal point for the community to come together.”
The fieldhouse features three main areas. A large community room, for events such as reunions, and family and community gatherings, will be dedicated to the memory of the late Larry Powell. Powell served as the district’s athletic director as well as started a youth group center called “The Barn.”
The Powell Community Room features tables and seating space, a large flat screen television, separate bathrooms and kitchen. The Powell Community Room will be open to the public at any time the facility is open.
McBride said the room is dedicated to Powell who started “The Barn” youth center, which offers a basketball court, weight room and a place where students could gather with one another.
“I’m really proud the fact that we can honor Larry by naming that community room after him,” McBride said.
The bulk of the space is a multi-purpose gymnasium with options for full-sized and practice-sized basketball and volleyball courts, a walking/running track around the perimeter of the court and batting cages and pitching area in the mezzanine area. The fieldhouse also has a fitness center with a variety of equipment including free weights, treadmills and other cardio equipment. Floor to ceiling windows in the fitness area offer views of the school’s athletic fields.
Level MB is serving as the general contractor for the project.
McBride said the facility can be utilized by Newton students and staff free of charge. Membership options, including a pass to enter the facility during public hours, are being finalized. To date, a $25 per year membership will be offered to parents or grandparents of Newton students. Senior citizens will have a free membership to the facility. Community members who reside in the Newton School district can join for $25 a year with $50 maximum family cap. Community members will get a tour and fitness room guidelines by a trainer to use equipment prior to receiving an access card.
McBride said the idea to build the facility was due to increase demand for an all-year round building for both school and community programs, as well as an athletic space for students and community members. McBride said the district outgrew its own make-shift weight room in an empty classroom of its 1999 addition which students and community members utilized all year round. With increased demand for year-old athletic training as well as community events to be held at the school, McBride said the district was having to turn away groups because of its lack of space or availability. It was then McBride, staff and the board began to discuss adding a multi-purpose, accessibility facility to the district’s campus as an amenity for the whole community to use
McBride said the district will pay for the project by financing $1.75 million over the next 15 years. McBride said the district invested a $750,000 down payment to start the project and has received $100,000 in private contributions for the facility. McBride estimated yearly payments of $120,000 will be paid with half of the funding from the district’s permanent improvement fund and the other half from its general fund. The district has the option to pay the project off at the end of its 10 years payment plan. The district recently paid off its 1999 building addition early due to refinancing, which freed up funds to make the annual payment for the new fieldhouse project, according to McBride.
In the last decade, the district has had a surge in open enrollment, which adds nearly $700,000 to its general fund each year. McBride said approximately 140 students open enroll into Newton, with 30 students out of Newton.
McBride also said Ohio schools are also being required to partner with community agencies to increase its wellness program, which he said the facility will provide, not only for its students, but for the whole community.
For more information, visit www.newton.k12.oh.us.