Future of MHS gym up in air

When the Minden Crimson Tide took the field for their last home game two weeks ago, they enjoyed the benefit of a new stadium, packed with fans. However, they had to dress in borrowed space in the high school, something Webster Parish School Superintendent Johnny Rowland brought before the School Board Monday night.

“We’ve got a fantastic football stadium that we’re all proud of. I think everyone would agree with that,” Rowland said.

“We don’t have a dressing facility for our football team. We don’t have a weight room for our football team. We don’t have a coaches office for our football team. We don’t have a visitor dressing room for our visitors.”

Those areas, condemned at the same time as the stadium in 2015 have not been rebuilt, forcing the team to “make do” in classrooms and other space at the main high school building. Rowland asked the board to help rectify the situation.

“The way I see it we’ve got two options,” he said.

The old gymnasium is not completely unusable, Rowland said. “From what I am being told, where the old swimming pool was — that’s got to be taken down. But we’ve not been told that about the old gymnasium.”

Rowland said current facilities in the old gymnasium could be repurposed for the needs of the athletic department of Minden High School. If it isn’t refurbished, demolition may be necessary.

“If we have to destroy it,” Rowland said. “That’s going to be some doing to get all that steel in that facility.”

Rowland said the rehabilitation of the old gymnasium could be a real plus for the entire campus. “On a personal note, I’ve thought about Haynesville High School and Byrd High School and how beautiful those refurbished facilities are,” he said.

The second option, Rowland said, would be to construct a new facility for athletics. Either option would require board approval. “I’m wanting guidance from the board; can we proceed along that path [of getting estimates]?”
District 11 Board Member said they see the need to explore options on the facility.

“I’d be in favor of you and the staff getting some options, costs, and bringing them to the board for consideration,” Lott said.

District 6 Board Member John Madden said there is a financial consideration to any option.

“I see the need. I’m just concerned about the money,” Madden said.

District 8 Board Member Ronnie Broughton said there was a funding source, should an option be approved. “The voters voted a half-cent sales tax to fund these types of expenditures,” he said.

Rowland said staff would proceed at exploring the possibilities for consideration. “We’ll bring some options back to you,” he said. “It’s important that we have facilities for our kids.”

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