Kokomo Tribune; Kokomo, Indiana

May 7, 2013

IU Kokomo to have a home court

KCS, city of Kokomo and IUK partnering on $700,000 project.

By Lindsey Ziliak
Tribune staff writer

— Kokomo-Center Schools Monday recommended $700,000 from its general fund be used to convert the long unused Memorial Gymnasium pool to a basketball court for Indiana University Kokomo.

In December, the district announced it was partnering with the city of Kokomo and the university on the project.

Superintendent Jeff Hauswald said the idea came to him after learning that IU Kokomo didn’t have a home for athletic events. Teams were bouncing around between venues.

The district is providing the space and funding the renovation, but the costs will be paid back over time. It won’t cost the district anything in the end, Hauswald said.

The city will pay $350,000, the superintendent said. And the university will pay $35,000 annually for 10 years to rent the space.

On Monday, the district’s board of school trustees held a public hearing to discuss the $700,000 appropriation from the general fund and another appropriation that would move $375,000 from the district’s rainy day fund to pay for unexpected repairs, building improvements and equipment needs.

No one showed up at the public hearing to discuss or ask about the district’s requests.

The $375,000 will be used to repair the Kokomo High School tennis courts, add mobile classrooms at Wallace School of Integrated Arts, improve the phone system at several buildings and add security cameras at Memorial Gym.

The Memorial Gym pool project is already underway, Hauswald said Monday.

He recently stopped by the gym to see the progress. Contractors are still working to fill in the pool. They were about two feet from the top, he said.

By Aug. 1, the university will have its own home basketball court.

This partnership with the city and IU Kokomo makes perfect sense, the superintendent said.

His district hadn’t used the pool for years. Now that space will have a purpose again.

“It’s better than letting it sit empty,” he said. “It will bring people downtown.”