VANDALIA — The Butler High School weight room will receive a total renovation of both space and equipment as part of a $100,000 project that is expected to be completed near the end of May.
The project will be paid for through a mixture of Athletic Department funds, Athletic Booster funds, and a fundraising campaign that will be matched by a former Aviator wrestling up to $25,000.
Butler Athletic Director Jordan Shumaker stressed that no tax dollars will be used toward the project.
“There are absolutely no tax dollars being used at all,” said Shumaker. “All money has or will be raised by the Athletic Department, the Athletic Boosters, and the donation campaign. No money will come from the general fund which we are thrilled about because that was the goal all along. We wanted to do it right, not do it halfway, but use no tax dollars.”
Butler’s fundraising campaign received a jump-start when former Butler wrestler David Kudla and his wife, Cheryl, agreed to match the first $25,000 in donations for the project. In return, the weight room will be renamed the David & Cheryl Kudla Center for Strength & Fitness.
Kudla, a Butler graduate who is now the CEO and CIO of Mainstay Capital Management spoke about the campaign on Twitter over the weekend.
“It is Cheri’s and my honor to support the training and development of our high school’s future athletes,” he said in a tweet on Sunday. “Athletic training teaches discipline. Support Butler High School in teaching and training it’s student athletes.”
Kudla also tweeted thanks to those that made donations on Sunday.
“Thanks to David for his generosity,” Shumaker tweeted on Sunday. “It will have a positive impact on generations of future Aviators.”
Donations are welcome of any size, and all donations of $100 or more will be recognized on a permanent donor board in the Student Activities Center and the donor will be given a complimentary 2017 Butler Athletic Booster membership.
Shumaker said soon after he assumed the Athletic Director’s job last summer it was apparent that an upgrade was needed in the weight room.
“One of the first thing our coaches told me when I got here was that we needed to improve our training and weight room facility,” he said. “We have an incredible space, but it is really inefficient with really old equipment that was donated to us by UD when they replaced it.”
Planning for the project has taken several months. Shumaker worked with three different companies and ultimately decided on the Equipment Guys out of Newark, Ohio.
“We started out asking for everything we could possibly want in a weight room and then backed off a few things to get it in the price range we wanted,” said Shumaker. “Fortunately we didn’t have to back off a lot – we are getting almost exactly what we wanted in a dream scenario.”
Currently only 21 students can use the weight room at a time. The renovation will double that figure to 42.
“Football had to lift in 3-4 groups and now will be able to do it in two,” said Shumaker. “Smaller teams we may get 2-3 teams in at once instead of one. It will be more efficient and take kids less time to get a better workout. That’s better for our students.”
Equipment is expected to be installed the last week in May. A dedication date has not been set but school officials are trying to work out a date that will allow Kudla to attend.
Reach Darrell Wacker at 937-684-8983 or on Twitter @VandaliaDrummer.