Barwise weight room bids shot down, project still a go

WICHITA FALLS, TX (KAUZ) - Wichita Falls Independent School District board members shot down all the bids for a new weight room at Barwise Middle School.

While it was a no at Monday night's school board meeting, a new weight room for Barwise is not being ruled out.

Superintendent Michael Kuhrt, with the WFISD, said since the last board meeting on Tuesday, June 13, when they learned $205,000 was the cheapest bid for that project, they have had some local vendors reach out to them.

The plan now is to collect new bids, something Andrea Russell, whose child is an incoming seventh grader at Barwise and is the school's PTO president for next year, said she is glad to hear.

"We were just here to encourage them to continue thinking about getting a weight room at Barwise," said Russell.

She said those students were promised a weight room would be built and making that a reality has been in the works for about four years.

"Several people have raised thousands of dollars at Zundy to provide a weight room," said Russell. "They raised a lot of money for weights, and with the merger, we were told yes there would be a weight room at Barwise."

Russell said she was told the weight room equipment is sitting in storage, not being used.

"So, we definitely want that to be utilized by our students," said Russell.

Superintendent Kuhrt said yes those weights are ready to go, they just need a facility to put them in

Something Russell and Superintendent Kuhrt both agree on is $205,000 is too expensive, but the need for a weight room is there.

"It's a hazard for the kids right now, and so we are just wanting them to follow through with what they told us that they would do," said Russell.

Superintendent Kuhrt said the board has tried to put this project together three times now but other priorities got in the way. Like having to add more classroom space, additions to the cafeteria and extra locker room space.

"We ran out of budget, and so we did not want to exceed our bond budget for that project," said Superintendent Kuhrt.

But still, dozens of people say the funds should be spent elsewhere, and not on a weight room for Middle school students.

Superintendent Kuhrt said they have spent a lot of money on necessary repairs like roofs, drainage issues and electrical upgrades to a number of campuses.

However, he said the students do need a weight room.

"The students at Barwise they need to have a place to workout, that is just part of having a quality athletic program is when you have fit and in shape athletes," said Superintendent Kuhrt. "A weight room is a part of that."

Russell said the coaches do a great job getting students prepared for high school and the junior high athletics.

"I think physical education is equally important," said Russell.

As for using portable buildings, Superintendent Kuhrt said they are not out of the question but are not ideal either.

Trustees will go over the new bids for the weight room building at the July school board meeting.

He said when it comes how much the district is looking to spend, they feel $130,000 is a fair price and is also in the district's budget.

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