A new plan for the rehabilitation of the old Parker school gym was reviewed Monday night by the Belmond City Council

  “What you have there is a strong shell of a building,” said Lucas Casey of SEH Engineering and Architecture. “It is a formidable concrete structure” that is “in good to fair condition, showing no signficant signs of settlement or deterioration.”

  But, unfortunately, everything else about the building needs to be replaced: roof, plumbing, wiring, lighting, lobby, doors, windows, heating and cooling system, insulation, restrooms, gym floor, emergency lighting, and fire suppresion system.

  If the building is to be saved, the roof will need attention very soon. The east side is leaking. The condition of the attic trusses in that area is unknown. The leaking has ruined the wood gym floor. There is lots of mold.

  The rough plan presented to city officials by SEH Monday calls for refurbishing the gymnasium, adding a new lobby on the east with restrooms and an elevator, and refurbishing the lower level into two classroom/ meeting rooms, a flexible performance space, storage area, and mechanical area.

  “You have to work within the walls that are already in the basement,” said Casey. “Those poured concrete supports aren’t going anywhere.”

  The estimated cost for the project is $4 million.

  The idea of making use of the old gym has been bounced around for ten years. Last year, the Jacobson Fund for Belmond provided a $27,000 grant to study the building and to survey residents about the recreation needs of the community.

  The needs survey done last winter showed that if people in Belmond got everything they dreamed of, a recreation center would have to be 41,000 square feet in size. The old gym and basement together are less than 14,000 square feet -- only about one-third of the “dream” space. In addition, the old gym is four feet shorter than today’s standard basketball court.

  The dreams include: two more basketball (eight pickleball) courts, a four-lane walking track, two meeting rooms, three referee locker rooms, six team locker rooms, a lobby, a concession area, four restrooms, an office, and a variety of storage areas. All of this could cost $8 million for a new building, and it goes far beyond what was originally intended -- restore the old gym.

  City Manager Darrel Steven Carlyle told the council, “The plan we are seeing tonight is....   read the entire story in the Belmond Independent.