By Ellen Thompson/Havre Daily Newsemail@example.com
The Havre school board Tuesday accepted a donation of the Mat Corner wrestling facility from the Havre Wrestling Club.
"If it doesn't work, we can give it back," Have Public Schools director of operations Ric Floren said.
The details of the transaction have not been settled, but after some discussion, board members decided they knew enough to allow administrators to finalize the deal.
The board voted unanimously to accept the building as long as the contract that is drafted reflects the proposal presented.
Floren said that if any problems arise or significant changes appear in the contract, it will be brought back before the board.
"This is certainly not a long-term solution" to providing wrestling facilities for students, he said. "I hope in the future this board would very seriously consider a permanent facility."
Floren said HPS has in mind a multiuse, on-campus practice area that could be used by wrestling and other sports. For the time being, he said, there is no better alternative to Mat Corner.
If the high school team wanted to practice at Montana State University-Northern, practice time would need to be pushed back several hours. There are also rules prohibiting high school students from being present during a college team's practice.
The club's proposal includes a guarantee that if HPS changes facilities, it would allow the club to use those facilities or otherwise return the building to the club. In the case of a fire or destruction of the building, the club would be allowed to use whatever facility the school district uses, or otherwise receive the insurance payment for Mat Corner.
"I hope it works out," club president Brian Schaub said today. "I hope that's over so we can get on with wrestling instead of worrying about a building."
The Wrestling Club has tried to sell the downtown building, which Schaub said was costing too much - $15,000 annually - to operate. The club only had two offers, both below the $90,000 asking price, when it looked into donating the building.
The club board voted Oct. 6 to offer the building to HPS.
Floren said that adding the building to HPS's facilities will mean a $100 yearly increase in insurance expenses. The school district won't have to pay taxes on the building.
The annual cost to heat the building is about $3,600. But HPS will no longer have to pay $2,750 to rent the facility during high school wrestling season.
The club will maintain its own liability insurance to cover its practices in the building.