Local voters overwhelmingly rejected a North Crawford School District referendum seeking permission to borrow $1.3 million to build a fitness center at the school.
The referendum was defeated by a very large margin with just 199 yes votes to 505 no votes.
The fitness center, referred to on the ballot as a wellness center, was an outgrowth of North Crawford’s federal PEP Grant, which would have paid for most of the exercise equipment it would house. The ambitious fitness center project, with the help of Vernon Memorial Healthcare, also sought to open the facility to the public for memberships and use.
North Crawford School District Administrator Dr. Dan Davies seemed take the referendum’s defeat in stride after the vote had been tallied.
“The question was posed to the community and they said no,” Davies said. “I’m somewhat disappointed, but that’s the desire of the community. Our intent was to present an option to the community and that was done.”
Like Davies, North Crawford School Board President Mary Kuhn acknowledged the community had certainly rejected the fitness center plan.
“The community decided that they didn’t think the investment was worth it,” Kuhn said Tuesday night.
“There were a lot of votes cast for a primary election day,” Kuhn noted. “I’m very happy with the turnout. I’m glad this wasn’t decided by a small handful of people, one way or the other. I’m grateful for everyone who took the time to vote.”
What’s next for the school, the PEP Grant and the larger wellness effort?
Kuhn indicated exercise equipment would be purchased with the grant funds and located within the existing school. Of course, the community won’t have any access to it, as envisioned in the fitness center proposal.
School board member Judy Powell had another take on the situation.
“I guess I would like to see other avenues explored for fitness opportunities....in the community,” Powell said.