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  • Writer's pictureBill Raines

"Beauty from Ashes" Efforts continue Seven years following Old Springville Gym Fire

SPRINGVILLE - SEPTEMBER 5, 2023 - The Springville Restoration Group continues to work on getting a roof on the old Springville Gym and within the upcoming weeks that will be the case.

There can be "Beauty from Ashes" should one believe from this long waited project. The group feels the community can start seeing some real progress.

Photo: The sun shines though the 1936 Gym that was destroyed by fire back in July 2016

The road to restoration have taken longer than expected with permitting from the State of Indiana. In addition, because the gym sits in a flood plain the Indiana Department of Natural Resources required additional mitigation of preventing water getting in the structure.

President Kenny Thompson and Mark Baker wanted to update the community on this long enduring project.

Photo: Kenny Thompson ( Left) and Mark Baker stand in the middle of the Old Springville Gym wanting to give an update on the project.

" We feel things are starting to move in the right direction, and this is our most promising year," said Thompson. "We have been contracting out some work and pretty sure things will happen before the end of this year," said Kenny Thompson.

The next phase of the project is to raise the walls approximately eight feet and put a roof over the structure. This will include and windows will be installed and close to contracting for the doors.

This phase excluding the purchase of doors will cost approximately $80,000. DC Metals have been awarded the contract for the walls, roof and window installation.

The doors will cost about $16,000 to complete the project. The Indiana Department of Natural Resources have required flood gates to be placed on all doors. The flood gates costing an additional $40,000.

Photo: The flooring of the concrete floors will be a challenge due to weather conditions and damage from the fire

The next project then will be the flooring, and it is uncertain what the cost will be.

" We are not sure on how we will repair the concrete flooring," added Thompson.

"We are reaching out to contractors, for the repair of the concrete floors damaged from the fire. If any one from the public knows a contractor we would like to talk to them,"

" The permit process took quite a while, then flood issues also added time to holding the project back. But, the real frustration over the last three years, came from just getting the building ready to build back on," Thompson emphasized.

" We got to the point, that we just wanted the building restored some way. We spent quite bit of money to bring the walls down to level where we did not have to do supporting and reinforcing, as well as meet the engineers specifications,"

According to Thompson, getting the project to this point cost about as much as it will cost to put a roof on the old gym.

The labor costs have been quite expensive to cap the walls.

Springville residents should start seeing the work on the roof in about 14 weeks.

Other projects will include electricity, kitchen, bathrooms with plumbing, and walls.

One bitter sweet moment for the group, that one huge supporters of the the project Jack Armstrong who wanted to see the project completed passed away back in January of this year.

Photo: The 1936 WPA Springville Gym construction photo provided by Marilyn Kimmel

" Jack was one who really, wanted to see this project done before he passed away and that did not happen. He wanted results and we just did not get that done. But, we want to mention him and his contributions in helping with this undertaking," added Thompson.

Photo: Provided by Marilyn Kimmel

With the Springville Gym under construction in 1936 by the WPA. Jack Armstrong helped his father haul stone. The wall was started by laying the stones flat, but it was decided that was too slow. After about 6 feet they switched by laying them on edge.

Jack Armstrong April 14, 1931 to January 19, 2023

The Springville Gym restoration Group will continue to provide updates.

The Gym Restoration Group consists of seven members, who are overseeing the restoration efforts. The board consisting of the township trustee and her advisory board and four other members. The group was formed immediately after the fire.

The Springville Park Board is separate from the this board.

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Located at 1416 James Avenue Bedford, Indiana

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