The Ottumwa Courier

January 23, 2014

Couple offers to build gym

By Rusty Ebert
Courier Correspondent

---- — KEOSAUQUA — A rural Keosauqua couple met with the Van Buren Community School Board on the possibility of construction of a new gym in Keosauqua.

Ro and Troy Scheuermann, who own Scheuermann Chiropractic with offices in Farmington and Cantril, approached the board about acquiring school property to build the complex which, depending on the plan, will be at least 66 feet by 120 feet.

“It won’t be a rec center, but it would have a regulation basketball court,” said Troy Scheuermann. “Basketball is very important to me, and I feel I owe a lot to the sport,” he said.

The Scheuermanns said they will pay the cost to build it, which is estimated to be approximately $250,000.

Scheuermann, who assists with the elementary basketball program, said, “I’ve seen the struggle in getting gym space. If you have an elementary team for third, fourth, fifth and sixth grades and then have one for each of the boys and girls, that’s eight teams trying to compete for slots for Wednesday nights and Saturdays.”

He said by the time he had been considering a gym, the Fox Valley gym in Cantril was torn down.

“We’ve looked at Farmington, but another group purchased the Harmony middle school,” he said. “The owners of the former Stockport school refused to sell just the gym.”

“I feel called to build a gym. We’re not into it as a business, but we want it to be a faith-based gym. We would have donation boxes,” said Scheuermann.

The Scheuermanns have done some preliminary work and a “bare bones building” would be at least 66 feet by 120 feet. If there is to be a place for gymnastics and trampolines, then it would increase to 87 feet by 120 feet.

They would like to build it in Keosauqua, preferably close to the school or River View Club. They had considered a site at the tennis courts but couldn’t come to an agreement with the club. The other two sites would be behind the Van Buren superintendent’s office or at the football practice field, which is actually in three parcels. One of the parcels would be considered ideal, said Ro Scheuermann.

If the school leased the land to the Scheuermanns, a lot of regulations would kick in on building the gym, said Van Buren Superintendent Dr. Pam Ewell.

The Scheuermanns prefer owning the land to leasing.

If the school decides to sell land, it would have to hold public hearings. Troy Scheuermann said once the building is constructed, he could work out an agreement with the school so it could use it.

“We have slotted the school for 3:30-5 p.m. Davis County contracts with the Mutchler Center for junior high practices,” Troy Scheuermann said. “We would have to figure out what a reasonable fee would be.”

Youth would be a priority from 5-7 p.m. on weekdays, 9 a.m. to 7 p.m. on Saturday and Sunday afternoons. The rest of the time slots, outside of Sunday morning, would be open for all.

Even though the Scheuermanns would have to pay for liability insurance, “our youth are important. I think it’s a win-win for everyone. The parents won’t have to cart the kids out of the community if they want them to participate.”

School board members were “comfortable” with the idea but were concerned on the configuration to move the practice field.

“I would like to hear from the football coach, but I am comfortable,” said board member Rick Plowman.

“As long as we have enough space for it, I am also comfortable with the idea,” said Sheila Parsons, board member.

“The only concern is if we have a county-wide school or building project down the road, what footprint that would be. I don’t want to tie up future boards, but this is an opportunity,” said Superintendent Ewell.

Board member Bob Steingreaber said, “I don’t have a problem with selling land on the perimeter for this kind of project, but I do have a concern with one in the middle.”

The Scheuermanns said they would be willing to have “green space” for use in moving the football practice field. They stated there would have to be dirt moved in if they built behind the superintendent’s former office.

“We checked with Cole, and he estimated it would cost around $7,000. We’re concerned about drainage issues.”

Administration also had concerns about any possible reductions to the practice field, especially now that the program is on the upswing.

The Scheuermanns would like to begin construction in March and hopefully have it finished by October. They are in the process of forming a nonprofit association.

The school board asked the Scheuermanns to discuss the matter further with the River View Club and the board would also consider the request.