$695,600 okayed for Civic Center remodeling

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By Reed Anfinson
Swift County Monitor-News


At a special District 777 Board of Education meeting Thursday noon, a $695,600 north civic center renovation project was unanimously approved.

It will focus on creating a new space for the Benson High School gymnastics program to replace the cramped quarters it currently uses in the Benson Armory. Funds will come from a building account set aside earlier by the board.

There are also concerns the City of Benson will revisit its plans to convert the armory into a new city hall eliminating the gymnastics space. Last April, the council put those plans on hold as the price tag appeared it could near $1 million and as it worked on building a new police station. Still, it is an option that remains on the table.

With no other school facilities free for the gymnastics program, the school board welcomed the possibilities the north end of the civic presented when it became free. The space had been used for years by CNH Industrial, but last spring it announced it would be ending the leasing freeing over 13,000 square feet for the school’s use.

While gymnastics would use about 7,000 square feet of the building, wrestling, tennis, baseball, softball, golf, dance and basketball could use the other 6,000 feet for practice. The wrestling program has been the focus of much of the discussions about the adjacent space, though no decision has been made.

The school has signed a five-year lease for the north end of the civic for $35,000 a year. CNH has been paying $39,500 annually to lease the north civic center space. It also has the right to renew the lease after five years, or buy the facility from the city.

Two key features that were debated for the space were in-floor heating and a pit for the gymnastics program practices....


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