By Tim Leeds/Havre Daily Newsfirstname.lastname@example.org
The Havre Wrestling Club board of directors decided Wednesday to offer to donate the Mat Corner building to Havre Public Schools, provided the club has a guarantee it will have a place to practice.
"You've got a big investment in this," the club's attorney, Dan Boucher, told the group. "You need something long-term to protect your investment."
The Wrestling Club has been trying to sell the downtown building, which board president Brian Schaub says is costing too much to own and operate. However, the club has gotten only two offers, both below the $90,000 asking price.
Schaub said the club pays $15,000 a year for insurance, utilities and taxes, and expects utility costs to rise.
The board formed a committee to draft a proposal to present to the school district. Boucher said he will work on writing a draft to present to the committee, which the committee will finalize and present to the board, possibly by its meeting next Wednesday.
Boucher said he contacted Havre Public Schools director of operations Ric Floren to tell him the club was interested in proposing a transfer of the property.
The Havre High School wrestling team has rented the building from the club during wrestling season for more than 10 years to use as its practice facility.
Floren said this morning the district wants to help the club continue to have access to a practice facility.
"We want them as part of our overall program," Floren said.
He said the district is looking forward to receiving a proposal from the club. The final decision will be made by the school board.
Boucher said he will write a proposal with two main purposes: to ensure the wrestling club continues to have a facility to practice in, and to promote the development of a high-quality practice facility for the high school.
Creating a better practice facility could require that the school district renovate Mat Corner or sell it and use the proceeds for a new facility in a different location, Boucher said.
"It would be a fraction of what they need for that but it's a start," he said.
Members of the board said they want to make sure the wrestling club continues to have a practice facility.
Board member Bruce Flathers said the agreement should ensure that if something catastrophic happens to the building or if the district sells it, that the club isn't cut off from practicing.
Schaub said that could be a problem. A few years down the road, if the district has budget shortfalls, it could sell the building and use the money to shore up the budget, he said.
"And they're always short on funds," he added.
Boucher said the proposal can help ensure the club has a location, but wouldn't be able to cover all possibilities.
For example, he said, if the district has to rent a different wrestling facility from a private entity, the owner could restrict the club's use of it. The district also could require the club to help pay rent, he added.
The board appointed Schaub, Angie Campanella, Chris Faber and Ron Brenna to the committee to present a proposal to the full board.