Ground broken for new facility (Daily Gate City)

25 AUG 2017 | BY ZACH C SUMMERS

By Megan McNeill mcneill@dailygate.com Aug 25, 2017

Ground was broken last week at Joyce Park for the Keokuk School District’s new indoor softball/baseball hitting facility.

“All the dirt work has now been completed,” Keokuk High School softball coach Merle Jones told the Keokuk School Board on Monday. “Hopefully, if the weather is good, within two weeks we’ll have the cement poured.”

He thanked the board, especially Kim Wyatt and Russ Derr, for their assistance during the planning stages.

“If it wasn’t for you guys voting on June 26 (to accept a $474,500 bid from Keokuk Contractors), this would have never happened,” Jones said. “It’s going to be a pretty neat facility.”

The target date for completion is Nov. 1.

“Now that people see it being worked on, I think the money will come in better,” Jones said. “At the last meeting, we had approximately $122,000. As of (Monday), we’re at $146,898.”

That latest total doesn’t include “another couple thousand” dollars Jones had yet to collect, but does take into account about $10,000 in verbal commitments.

Major League Baseball’s Baseball Tomorrow Fund, which gave the district a $75,000 match grant, has given the district an extension until Dec. 1 to spend the money. The group in charge of fundraising for the project also applied for and received a $10,000 grant from the Howard Jackson Family Trust.

The fundraising group has applied for another five grants, according to Jones.

Martin Meyer of Poepping, Stone, Bach and Associates, the project architect, has given the go-ahead for in-kind labor to be used during construction.

“Lights have been donated, and we’ve got some other people that will put them up as long as Martin lets us do it,” Jones said. “Our (industrial technology students) are going to finish the building for us.”

Wyatt, who’s been heavily involved in the project, said the group has talked to KHS Principal Adam Magliari and industrial tech instructor Matt May about getting the kids involved.

“We think, if it works out with their schedule, that that would be a good experience for the kids,” she said.

She added that one of the subcontractors has offered to donate all its labor.

“So, we’re looking at a savings of $10,000 to $15,000 right there,” she said.

“Everything we can save on electric, and the in-kind labor is going to bring down” the total project cost, Jones added. He noted that the plan had been for the fundraising group to raise about half of the money, with the district chipping in on the rest.

“Hopefully we can get it down around $400,000,” he said. “That was our original goal.”

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