Winnipeg Free Press - PRINT EDITION

Queenston gym money in question

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The Queenston School gym committee is running out of time to raise money for a bigger school gym for wider community use.

Community volunteers are less than halfway to their fundraising goal of $450,000 and the Winnipeg School Division's deadline is today.

The gym is scheduled to open at the River Heights elementary school in September of 2013.

"I believe we'll be close to $200,000," committee chair Colleen McFadden said this week. "What's been accomplished, we're pretty proud of."

There is very little wiggle room to have the funding in place and still get the gym open on time and on budget, Winnipeg School Division secretary-treasurer Rene Appelmans said.

"There are some specific timelines to be met," Appelmans said.

WSD school board chair Rita Hildahl declined to speculate, on what may happen, and would not say whether the division would even consider carrying the difference until the committee can raise the rest of the fundraising goal.

"We have not yet heard from the committee." Hildahl said. "We need to see the report first to make the determination."

Hildahl said trustees do not have a meeting called to discuss the issue. The administration will look at the fundraising group's report and advise the board, she said.

Queenston School was built in 1931. The 131 students have never had a proper gym, only a small multi-purpose room.

The campaign needs someone able to write a large cheque, but there has been no major donor, she said.

The committee and trustees agreed to name the gym after Sheilah Sweatman, a young woman who grew up in River Heights and died on a search and rescue mission in B.C. last year.

The provincial government will build to the size specified for nusery to Grade 6 students. The Queenston committee wants to add 800 square feet to the gym, 200 square feet to the foyer and 100 square feet of storage space so the gym will be big enough for broader community use.

nick.martin@freepress.mb.ca

Republished from the Winnipeg Free Press print edition July 1, 2012 A18

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