Parents worry shared school gym could risk safety

The Mulvane School Board will host a special session on the shared gym. The meeting will be at 7 p.m. Thursday in the new gymnasium at Mulvane Grade School. The meeting is open to the public.

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MULVANE, Kan. -- Is a school gym putting it's children at risk? That's what some parents in Mulvane are asking.

The Mulvane Grade School opened a new gym facility about a month ago. The facility is shared with the Mulvane Recreation Center.

"It's a safety concern, and I know that people are on both sides of the fence," said parent Monica Cross.

Cross said she was surprised the public could access an area that children use during school hours.

Yet, the only people who can use that area while school is in session are senior citizens, said Tom Keil, director of human resources for Mulvane School District. Seniors are allowed use of an indoor, elevated track.

A senior center is a part of the rec center campus, giving the elderly a chance to share a new facility. The gym was approved by Mulvane voters in a $13 million school bond in 2012.

"Absolutely. It's a great for our community. Our senior citizens are wonderful," Keil said. "They're wonderful to the school district."

Some parents have told KAKE News that they worry about who can access the facility, including sex offenders.

Rec center director Ticia Human said that a staff member monitors the entry to the site. She said every person who uses the facility must be a registered member. However, they do not conduct background checks for membership.

"We as administrators and staff, we have to be at heightened awareness to protect the kids in our district," Keil said.

Yet, Cross would like to see change to the current policy. She said she supports seniors and a shared facility. However, Cross would like to see the recreation center limit access to the shared part of the facility until after the school day is complete.

"We live in a different age," she said. "Sandy Hook. Columbine. Just in Kansas City, the 73-year-old man that just... you know at the community center. Mulvane cannot think that they're immune to crime and we need to prevent that."

The Mulvane School Board will host a special session on the shared gym. The meeting will be at 7 p.m. Thursday in the new gymnasium at Mulvane Grade School. The meeting is open to the public.


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