BOURBON – Community members gathered Thursday night inside the warm Bourbon old gym to discuss the future of the building.
Gym board representative Mason McIntyre discussed how vital the Bourbon gym is for sports practices during the school season. He said 12 out of 18 total teams use this gym as a practice facility.
“We’d be lost without another place to practice,” McIntyre said. “I’m very thankful we have a third facility we can use.”
McIntyre noted that the gym isn’t as efficient as it was when it was constructed nearly 100 years ago in 1928. He said the gym becomes crowded when there are two teams practicing in the gym at the same time.
This gym is used daily August through April, and without it McIntyre said scheduling practices “would be a headache.”
Triton School Corp. Superintendent Donna Burroughs discussed multiple options for the gym.
One plan is to form an committee where they would study options and then decide the fate of the gym. Another option is to make the gym a non-profit and rent it out for special occasions or community events.
Demolishing the gym and building a new one is another option discussed.
“We need to have a plan before [the gym] becomes a safety issue,” Burroughs said. “It is going to take community support.”
Indiana Landmarks Chairman Tim Shelly introduced a different option for the gym. He said the gym could be a national historic landmark.
This would be a nine-month process, and it could allow the city to apply for more grant funding. Shelly said the gym would maintain its character because it’s “in really great structural shape,” but it would need to meet today’s requirements.
Burroughs said a study was performed and in order to repair the gym it would cost $770,000. This would all happen in phases, and not be paid all at once. She also said the estimated cost for building a new gym is $2 million.
Many of the community members who attended the meeting were in support of keeping the gym.
Bourbon High School Alumni Association President Frances Berkey said she and the rest of the association want to see the gym stay to preserve their fond memories.
She was a baton twirler with the band and when she entered the gym for the meeting, she felt her memories resurface.
“When I came [in the gym] is when it really touched my heart,” Berkey said. “When the gym is gone, the memories leave and it can’t be replaced when [the gym] is torn down.”
Burroughs said the gym committee is open to anyone who is interested and as of right now, there is not a timetable for the next step in this process.