COU School and COU Athletic Booster Club work together to create new space

The Charter Oak-Ute School and the Charter Oak-Ute Athletic Booster Club have been working together to remodel the school’s former shop area into a fitness center.

Members of the athletic booster club and a couple of COU school staff started the conversation for a fitness center.

The school was needing to move the old weight room to make room for a Smartroom.

“We were looking for a way to find a place for our Smartroom (educational learning activity center) while keeping a weight room,” said COU superintendent Rollie Wiebers. “With whole grade sharing, the shop became available, and the idea was generated to form a joint community/school fitness center.”

All of the equipment in the new fitness center was moved from the old weight room. The equipment, along with the floor mats, was cleaned with a power washer.

Wiebers said the school and athletic booster club have been sharing the costs of the renovation, and the school has been involved in all discussions and decisions regarding operations.

After the whole grade (9-12) sharing agreement with MVAO, the athletic boosters continued to support COU junior high athletics, but were looking for a project. Shari Clausen with the athletic boosters said the group had money left and wasn’t sure what to do. The fitness center was a way for the group to “have a purpose again,” she added.

Converting the old shop into a fitness center required some updates to the room. Drywall, new electrical had to be placed and heating/cooling was added. The walls have also been painted, and new ceiling tiles and lights were placed.

One of the biggest projects to the space was the addition of heating/cooling.

“Now the space can be used year around,” said Clausen.

Work on the fitness center really got underway in the spring of 2018 when the athletic boosters received $4,405 from the Crawford County Community Foundation to cover the cost of the electrical.

United Bank of Iowa donated $5,000 to help with the cost of the heating/air. The group recently received a 2019 Crawford County Community Foundation for $2,000 to remodel the restroom in the fitness center.

The tentative date for the opening of the new fitness center is June 1. It features weightlifting equipment, treadmills, and ellipticals.

Users of the fitness center will have to sign a user’s agreement when they receive their key fob. Users will need to see Kim Creese or Renee Ernst at the Charter Oak-Ute office for the agreement, to make payment, and to receive the key fob.

The cost of the key fob is $100 (for a family) with an annual usage fee of $25. The fitness center will be open any time, seven days a week.

The athletic boosters hosts a youth basketball tournament each February. The funds raised from the tournament will be used to maintain the fitness center and purchase new equipment in the future.

“Proceeds from the tournament are what we will use to keep the fitness center going,” Clausen said.

The location of the fitness center makes it more accessible for the community to use. The COU physical education students and junior high sports team will also be able to take advantage of the space.

It will provide a closer facility for people who are doing therapy who might have had to travel to Mapleton or Denison. It also provides a place where people can go workout when the winter gets cold.

“The fitness center is an added value for everybody,” Clausen said.

Wiebers added, “The school district and communities have always worked together to meet the needs of the people, and this is another avenue to do that. It’s important to have a facility that

both groups can use to improve the health and fitness of students and community members.”

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