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USD 428 officially opens GBMS gymnasium
new vlc GBMS final walkthrough
Thursday morning, following a Great Bend Chamber of Commerce ribbon cutting ceremony, the USD 428 BOE, architect Charlie Sexton, and administrators met for a final walkthrough of the newly completed $2.7 million Great Bend Middle School gymnasium addition. Pictured,Front (left to right): Superintendent Tom Vernon, Kevin Mauler, Cheryl Rugan, Dwight Young, Khris Thexton, USD 428 Director of Business and Finance and Kathy Hafner, GBMS Assistant Principal and Athletic Director. Back: Architect Charlie Sexton, Joyce Carter, Doug Bender and David Reiser, GBMS Principal. - photo by VERONICA COONS Great Bend Tribune

Thursday morning, members of the Great Bend Chamber of Commerce arrived at the Great Bend Middle School gymnasium for a symbolic ribbon cutting event. While the space has been put to use hosting basketball games over the past nine weeks, work was still underway on the $2.7 million dollar facility.
The board dipped into its capital outlay fund to completely pay up-front for the new gym, wrestling facility and safe room. The safe room can hold the entire school population, including staff when weather dictates it. Chamber members were impressed.
“It adds tremendously to the school district as a whole and the availability for events,” said Robert Rugan, central Kansas market president with Farmers Bank and Trust of Great Bend. “A few weeks ago, a MAYB basketball tournament was held here, and the comments from the community were positive. As a business person in the community, it says something about Great Bend.”
Great Bend Chamber of Commerce and Economic Development marketing coordinator Rachel Mawhirter echoed Rugan’s sentiments.
“This facility is a tremendous asset to Great Bend,” she said. The facility will go a long way to showcasing the importance the community puts on their students, something that says volumes to businesses and individuals considering coming to Great Bend, she added.
Following the ribbon cutting, Unified School District 428 Board of Education members met for the final walkthrough with architect and HTK Architects Project Manager Charlie Sexton.
At the Oct. 23, 2013, walkthrough, board members were most concerned by the rough appearance of the concrete steps at the east entrance, the south entrance handicapped ramp that was not compliant with the Americans with Disabilities Act, and downspouts and roof drains that tied into storm drains on the west side of the addition in a questionable way. In addition, there were concerns over cracks in the concrete walkways on the west side which were caused during curing. HTK and Compton cooperated on solutions.
Since then, the steps and the handicapped ramp on the south side have been torn out and replaced. Railings for both the south and the east steps to the new gym have been ordered, and will be installed as soon as they arrive, USD 428 Superintendent Tom Vernon said.
The downspout issue has not yet been solved.
“It’s like an ice rink out there right now,” said David Reiser, GBMS principal. “That side doesn’t get the sun the south side does, so it’s a problem.”
As soon as the weather warms up and the snow and ice on the roof are gone, workers will be able to complete the tie in to the drainage system, along with replacement of some metal trim that shows signs of “oil canning.”
While a few other minor problems were pointed out which Sexton made note of, the general feel of the board was one of satisfaction.