Lunda Family Trust Donates An Estimated $4.5 Million Recreational Center

A field between the high school and State Highway 54 will be the location of a new community center.
A field between the high school and State Highway 54 will be the location of a new community center.

The Lunda Family Trust Fund will be donating a new Community Center on the south lawn of the high school.

Marlee Slifka, a trustee of the Lunda Charitable Fund felt that it would be a nice addition to the community, a place to gather for socialization and fitness and activities that span generations.

“The Boys and Girls Club was in need of a different facility for their purposes and after conducting local surveys. It was indicated that our senior population would also like a place to congregate. The school district needed more gym space, but funds were not available to the district for such a project. We thought the Field House would be a nice addition to the Lunda Community Center for the school district to use, given its need and the close proximity to the school was an added bonus,” said Slifka

There has been confusion on who is building the new facility. Superintendent Shelly Severson wanted to make it clear the School District of Black River Falls is not building this facility.

“The Lunda family felt that our community was lacking quality resources for senior citizens, Boys & Girls Club and a more comprehensive fitness center,” said Severson. “They approached us and asked if we would be interested in selling them the south lawn of the high school so that they could build their facility.”

Along with confusion as to who is building this new center, there is also confusion as to who is funding it. While the building will stand adjacent to the high school, the school district is not funding the project. The Lunda Charitable Fund will be funding this project; there will be no tax dollars used for the building of this center, says Severson

“After the building is complete, the Lunda Community Center will be responsible for costs associated with the community portion of the building (maintenance, upkeep, etc.) and the school district will be responsible for the costs associated with the maintenance and upkeep of the Field House. As is presently being done at the existing Lunda Community Center, there will be a membership fee,” said Slifka.

Severson made it clear that the district no longer owns the land that is known as the South Lawn.

“We have exchanged that 9 acres of land in return for 9.4 acres of land adjacent to the Forrest Street School.  That land is now owned by the Lunda Community Center Incorporated, which is a new organization that will be 100% in control of this new building.  They will pay for the building of it, they will own it, operate it, manage it, maintain it, etc.  The land is not ours any longer.  Any construction that happens on that land is NOT funded through any School District funds, which is taxpayer money,” said Severson

Severson has not been included in the planning of this facility but knows what will be included in the new facility.

“I do know that they are planning to have a place for the Boys & Girls Club to relocate to, a Senior Citizens Center, an indoor aquatic park for family use, a workout facility, walking track, as well as the three bay gym/field house that the School District will lease from them for use with our athletic programs,” said Severson.

The aquatic park is one aspect of the center that has been of interest.

“[The pool will include] a warm water swimming pool, which includes an area for lap lanes and a zero depth entry area with a water slide, and a child watch area,” said Slifka.

Seeing that we already have a facility similar to the one being built, there is concern as to what will happen to the old one.

The pool portion of the current center will remain as it is and will be used by the school for PE and swim lessons.  The swim team will also continue using it. The area upstairs that currently has the weight and nautilus machines will become a training room for wrestling,” said Severson.

The starting of construction is not concrete. Slifka says that the project has not yet been out for bids and the beginning of construction is yet to be determined but they are hoping for fall of 2014.

“Until we are able to determine who the contractor will be and when a start date has been provided, we are unable to provide a completion date. We are aiming for early 2016,” said Slifka.

With the building of this new facility, there are some worries. One dispute Severson has heard is some people that believe the HS is now limited in its expansion due to the new facility.

“I disagree. We retained enough of the south lawn to enable us to expand and we also have space to the west of the current building.  Some people say that it will increase congestion in the parking areas. Again, I disagree.  There is a considerable amount of parking being added for the facility that the district will be able to use on the nights of events,” said Severson.

With the few concerns, there are a lot of positive features to this project. The new building will provide more diverse hours of usage than the current fitness center, says Activities Director Jim Rufsholm.

“It will offer homes to the Boys and Girls Club and a Senior Center for years to come.  The new facility will have a program gym that will be available to its members nearly 100% of the time,” said Rufsholm.

Slifka agrees that the benefits are many.

“Much needed space for the school district for athletic events, a ‘home’ for the Boys and Girls Club, an area for the senior citizens to gather and an indoor swimming pool with warm water for children and families to enjoy as well as lap lanes for swimmers to exercise, and an exercise/fitness area which promote physical activity and health for all age groups,” said Slifka.

Severson feels that this is an incredibly generous gift from a family that has done so much for our community.

“The community is not being asked to pay for any of the construction costs, it will not be owned by the city, which means people will not have to pay taxes to maintain it, and they are planning a facility that will serve community members of all ages!  What a gracious gift to give to us!  The district is specifically going to benefit from a facility that would have cost us approximately $4.5 million dollars to construct, instead, it will be gifted for our use.  The generosity of the Lunda family cannot be overstated.  The district is extremely appreciative!” said Severson.

Students Anxious for Field House

Students are talking about the benefits to a plan to bring a two-story community center to Black River Falls.

Sophomores Ryan Guenther and Courtney Reese will be seniors by the time the field house is being built, and they are looking forward to the new “big hit” in BRF.

“Since there isn’t a whole lot of things to do here in BRF, it would give our town a new place to have fun,” said Reese.

Superintedent Shelly Severson confirms the community center will  be filled with an indoor aquatic center, a three-bay gym, a walking track, and places for the Boys and Girls Club and senior center. Other ideas that have been talked about in the planning process include a yoga room, a workout room, and racquetball courts.

“I think it will be good for Black River Falls because it will draw a lot of attention and possibly make good profits,” said Guenther. “I am the most excited about the basketball courts, I think those will be awesome. However, I’m a little disappointed there won’t be an indoor track. That would have been great to see.”

Freshmen Callie Durman is also interested in how this plan will turn out and believes it will be a good benefit towards the town.

“The new field house will be good for the town because with the extra gyms our school would have the ability to host more school and sports events. It will also help with the practice of spring sports so not everyone is sharing the one gym,” said Durman. “I think that also it will benefit us because our town strives for tourism so this would not only give people a thing to do, but it will also help businesses by the many tournaments we could host.”

The new community center will give the town more activities to get involved with.

“The thing I am most excited to see is the waterpark. Now the community will have the opportunity to go to an aquatic center during fall and winter, and go to the Hoffman Aquatic Center during the summer,” said Durman.

The field house was given to the community by the Lunda Charity and is expecting the finished building to be done by 2016.

“Although the new center is taking up a lot of space, with how our school is involved with many sports and activities, it is definitely worth the money and space,” said Reese.

Seniors Transition from High School

Senior Miranda Jessie was accepted at the UW- Eau Claire.
Senior Miranda Jessie was accepted at the UW- Eau Claire.

As the Class of 2014 prepares to graduate, students are constantly asked about their plans after graduation. This spring, seniors will part and go their separate ways both near and far away from home.

“Iowa State University will be my new home for the next 6 to 8 years as I pursue my childhood dream of getting my PHD in the veterinary science field. Iowa State is the most prestigious of all veterinary school and I am ready to take on all the challenge that comes with attaining my degree,” said Taylar Dalbec.

Challenge is just the beginning for another senior; six years is half the time he will endure.

“In the fall of 2014, I will be attending the UW- Eau Claire majoring in business and administration and then start on my journey of becoming an anesthesiologist. It will take 12 years to get there, but I am looking forward to the challenge,” said Dominic Vase.

An anesthesiologist is a medical doctor who gives epidurals and anesthesia to patients in pain or before beginning surgery. Vase will start his future in Eau Claire and transfer to a larger medical school to complete his degree. Like Vase, other current seniors have plans before getting their degrees.

“My career of choice is to be a criminal investigator, but first I am going to attaining my degree in early childhood education from Gateway Technical College, in Kenosha. Helping out my community and making a difference is what I look forward to the most,” said Kaitlyn Johnson.

Johnson took classes throughout high school and earned her certification as an Early Childhood Teachers Assistant which allows her to work with children in child care centers. Taking classes in high school also inspired another senior.

“I was first introduced to Ho-Chunk 1 as a class; it has influenced my decision for future plans. My plan after high school is to take a year off and work with multiple companies on different projects. I aspire to go into language tutoring, specifically Ho-Chunk.   I’m also looking towards majoring in history or political science at the UW- Eau Claire in the fall of 2015,” said William Mackenzie.

Like Mackenzie, many seniors are working toward interesting jobs.

“My dream job is to become the General Manager of the Milwaukee Brewers. I would certainly like to have a business or statistics career with some sports organization in some capacity. This profession is most likely different from many other students. There is only one General Manager for each MLB baseball organization, so it is not a highly populated job,” said Ethan Young.

A general manager is the business executive who puts together the roster of players and overseas the personnel. Rosters are one way to get involved in college whether it be in football, like Young at UW- La crosse, or Tennis and Track at the UW- Stevens Point.

“I am cannot wait to expand my knowledge and meet many new people at the UW- Stevens Point. I will be on the track and tennis teams while working toward my degree in Interior Architecture and Business Administration. I will be very busy in college doing two sports and classes so using my time efficiently will require planning on my part but I am excited,” said Abbey Johnson.

Another way to get involved in college is through music.

“I am eager to take part in orchestra and choirs at the UW- Eau Claire, in addition to majoring in English to become a teacher. I am looking forward to getting to work with future students and to be doing something that I enjoy,” said Katherine Hegna.

Enjoying what you do is an important aspect in choosing a career. College is not the interest of everyone.

“After high school I am joining the army to become an Airborne Ranger with hopes of becoming part of the Green Beret special forces of the Army. I am very excited about my future and the brotherhoods I will make through my endeavors,” said Austin Brown.

Whether it is near, or far, college, workforce, or military, the future graduates have plans for their futures and can now answer the most asked question of senior year. “What are you doing after high school?”

Dairy Way: The Secret is in the Ice Cream

The Peanut Butter Parfait is one of the many ice cream treats at Dairy Way.
The Peanut Butter Parfait is one of the many ice cream treats at Dairy Way.

Dairy Way delivers the most sought out food item that community members crave for the summer.  For many people, like sophomore Jenna Bunde, ice cream defines Dairy Way.

“I think that ice cream defines Dairy Way.  I always get a Heath Flurry. My dad had it one time and I tried a bite and fell in love with it,” said Bunde.

Dairy Way is known for its many varieties of ice cream.  The most popular kind of ice cream is  a chocolate and vanilla twist, but there are many other flavors.

“I like the Flavor Burst with Krunch on it.  My little brother had the Orange Flavor Burst and I tried it and really liked it so I decided to try them all.  I don’t always get it when I go to Dairy Way.  I try to get something new every time I go there,” said senior Cheyenne Iverson.

Dairy Way makes their ice cream through a special process and add toppings that go with each flavor.

“I can’t say a whole lot because it is a secret.  I can say that we put the ice cream in the machine and cool the liquid ‘ice cream’ into a more of a solid form,” said Bailey.

Despite the ice cream being popular, Dairy Way has other food items on the menu such as burgers and cheese curds.  The variety of foods help customers who are lactose intolerant like junior Amara Baker.

“I look forward to Dairy Way because they have really good food.  I can’t eat ice cream, so when I go with friends or family I generally buy something off the food menu.  I don’t really have a favorite [food item], but I do really like their hot ham and cheese sandwiches,” said Baker.

With its variety of food and ice cream, many people think that these items define Dairy Way.  Senior Zachary Bailey, who also works at Dairy Way, thinks similarly.

“I agree that people describe Dairy Way as a place to go and get some great ice cream.  The ice cream is good and so is the food.  The employees are friendly.  But with the big ice cream cone on the top of the building, ice cream is why most people come to Dairy Way,” said Bailey.

However, sophomore Darien Lowe thinks something else is the defining factor of Dairy Way.

“I think the workers make Dairy Way different from other restaurants by being more free spirited, but also still staying serious and responsible when you need to be. We always have fun while working even though it gets stressful sometimes,” said Lowe.

With ice cream as a defining character of Dairy Way, customers need to be quick to get their favorite treat.

“We are only open six months of the year so there is only a certain time window you can get D-Way ice cream,” said Bailey.

Baseball Season Can Take Toll on Body

Baseball players endure a very long season that take a toll on their body dealing with injuries ranging from sore legs to sore arms, and every knick and bruise they encounter on a day to day basis.

According to the University of Rochester Medical Center, from the ages 5 years old to 14 years old, 110,000 kids have been treated in a hospital’s emergency room from injuries from baseball. Baseball also has the highest fatality rate than any other sport. On average, three to four kids die every year from a baseball injury.

Two of the most common injuries that kids can endure during a long season are sprains and strains which can cause kids to miss some time from their respective sporting event, reports the University of Rochester Medical Center.

“I would say the most common injuries in baseball are usually arm injuries. The rotator cuff and the elbow can get hurt very easily if they are not taken care of properly,” said Jake Dalhke

The high school baseball team goes through a daily routine consisting of running, resistance arm bands and a throwing progression that helps prevent arm soreness and injury.

“This is the reason why we warm up and do our band stretches before we throw everyday, if we did not do these things, just about everyone player’s arm would be hurt,” said Dalhke.

Also the WIAA limits the number of innings a pitcher and can pitch in a three day period. The number of innings they can pitch is seven innings in a three day span.

“I really limit their pitch count at the beginning of the season and gradually increase it as their rotator cuff gets stronger and more stretched out during the season,” said Dalhke.