On Thursday, May 23, and Friday, May 31, the Spring Grove School board held two special meetings to discuss an opportunity to replace the gym floor through a gift from an estate.

A gift of $31,885 was given from the estate of Betty Bretz (formerly Bessie Quinnell) with the designation that it be used for extra-curricular activities.

"We wanted to use this gifted money where it would have the greatest impact on the largest number of kids in our school and all grades - kindergarten through 12th - use the gym floor on a regular basis," explained Superintendent Rachel Udstuen in an earlier interview.

Visits were made to schools to look at two different types of floors - floating and anchored. After discussing the pros and cons of each type of floor and looking at the school's situation, an anchored floor was the type that was recommended to the school.

Teacher and basketball coach Wade Grinde explained that a floating floor "moves" with the fluctuation of heat and humidity whereas an anchored floor does not.

Due to the tight space where the gym floor lies - with boundaries of bleachers and the stage - an anchored floor was recommended.

Udstuen explained that a piece of the floor had been cut out from under the bleachers to see what it consisted of and what lay beneath it. She went on to explain that there are two layers of mastic with asbestos in them and due to that a special asbestos abatement process must be done when the wood flooring is removed.

The big question and debate during the meetings was the funding of the project.

The final quote from Athletic Performance Solutions is $51,900 for labor, materials and installation of a Connor Focus Subfloor System.

The quote from M.A.A.C. Inc. for the abatement is $30,300. These two costs total $82,200.

The estate gift is $31,885 leaving a balance of $50,315. Of that balance, donations in the amount of $34,650 have been confirmed from 10 individuals/groups.

Nine other individuals/groups have agreed to donate, but haven't confirmed amounts as they are waiting to see if the project would be approved.

There is a balance shortfall of $15,665. A $40,000 letter of credit has been secured by New Age Tree Service to help guarantee the district funds while final donations are being collected.

The school board has voted to contribute up to $25,000 to cover incidental costs related to the project.

A lot of discussion regarding the best way to fund the remaining balance on the project took place during the meetings.

As noted above, a group of community members has come forward and expressed interest in funding the project this summer.

If this is the case, Udstuen said, "If it [the gym floor] is done this summer - on such a quick time frame - I recommend that the floor and abatement be a gift.

"If we were to wait a [school] year it would give us more time to communicate and determine if the district would commit an additional financial contribution to gym renovations, and then I would feel more comfortable recommending that the district also contribute some of the floor cost.

"However, to have the project go forward this summer, it continues to be my recommendation [that] the district contribution to the project be for the incidental costs and that the floor and abatement be a gift to the district."

"It is our district's money that we are spending, and our [school board's] job is to be as responsible and frugal as possible with that money," remarked school board member Eric Bjerke.

School board member Stephanie Jaster presented a list of possible grants that may help cover different aspects of the project. More investigation into the grant possibilities and how to apply for them needs to be done; the board members and administration were appreciative of the work she had done to find these opportunities.