English Valleys Schools Celebrate Opening of New Gym

By Forrest Saunders, Reporter

NORTH ENGLISH, Iowa - Saturday evening, the English Valleys School District celebrated the grand opening of a long awaited new gym.

The facility sits at 765 West Broad Street in North English. It's an expansion to the English Valley Junior/Senior High School. Construction started in May and wrapped up this month.

The district had been looking to build the gym since the junior/senior high school was remodeled in the late '90s.

"We thought our kids needed a nicer gym to play in," Alan Jensen, district's superintendent, said.

Jensen said, at the time, officials didn't have the money-- but do now thanks in part to the local option sales tax. Jensen said the district saved about a million dollars on the $5-million project.

"That obviously gave us the initiative to go ahead and do it. It allowed us not to increase property taxes here in the community," said Jensen.

EV Schools are getting a lot of bang for their buck. Besides the 800-seat gym and an indoor-walking track, the addition features a new fitness center, which will be open 24/7 to anyone in the district's communities or who open enrolls their children into the district.

People like Galen Schwochow plan to get a lot out of it.

"I've wanted to lose weight and I finally got the motivation behind me to give myself a kick in the rump to get going," said Schwochow.

For senior student Jessica Riegel the new facility won't only be a spot for athletics, but also a place to make memories that will last a lifetime.

"I get to graduate in the new gym, so it's always going to be something that I'll remember. It'll be a big part of what I remember from High School," said Riegel.

School officials said the junior/senior high school's old gym won't be torn down. In fact, they've attached a performance stage to the side of it, which will be ready for use later this winter.
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