Mt Pleasant News

Wash Journal   Fairfield Ledger
Neighbors Growing Together | Sep 22, 2018

WACO receives a special gift

Kaufman Foundation will donate athletic training and fitness center
Sep 21, 2017
Photo by: Submitted The Mark and Mary Ann Kaufman Foundation is donating the construction costs of a new school/community fitness center for the WACO School District and communities included in the district. An architect’s drawing of the facility is shown in the above sketch. Mark Kaufman is a WACO graduate.

By Brooks Taylor and Andy Krutsinger, Mt. Pleasant News


WAYLAND — It never can be said Mark Kaufman forgot where he came from.

Kaufman, a 1982 WACO High School graduate and now president and CEO of AthletiCo Ltd., will be donating a 9,544 square-foot athletic training and fitness center on the WACO School campus in Wayland. The facility will serve not only the school district but community as well.

The announcement was made this week that the Mark and Mary Ann Kaufman Foundation will be funding the construction of the center which will include a weight room, free-weight area, community fitness center, locker rooms, coaches’ offices and an athletic trainer office.

Tim Graber, WACO School Board president and member of the WACO Community School Foundation (which will actually receive the donation) said the school district has been talking about a larger weight room for some time.

“I suppose we’ve been talking about it for 10 years,” Graber said.

The conversations took a serious tone when Graber saw Kaufman at an Iowa-Iowa State football game tailgate a couple of years ago. “He asked if the school district needed anything and was aware that we were talking about adding a weight room,” Graber reflected. “He wanted to do something and the weight room and fitness center falls in line with his business, so the talks became serious.”

So serious that Kaufman and Graber had Greg Gowey, another WACO grad and currently an architect in Cedar Rapids, draw up plans for the facility. “Gowey drew up the preliminary plans and we’ve made adjustments over the past year,” Graber stated.

A third person involved in the discussions was Mike Roth of Wayland, another WACO grad and friend of Kaufman’s, Graber said.

Chad Edeker, WACO athletic director and head football coach, echoed Graber’s remarks. “We’ve looked probably for the last two or three years for a way of remodeling or increasing our weight-room facility. Mr. Kaufman came through with a very generous donation. It all sort of came together.”

Edeker said WACO’s current weight room is very small. “In order to get our stuff in there, it’s crammed in. We have an early-bird weights program before school and have to put half the participants in the hall.”

WACO School Superintendent Jeff Dicks said the donation is unprecedented. “The opportunity this provides for our students, athletes and the community is unprecedented. This facility will set the WACO Community School District apart from most districts in the area and the state in terms of space available per student and community members.”

Edeker said the new facility also will give the weight program a boost. “It’s going to be big. Not only that, but the kids will be drawn to it. I think this will really sort of renew the excitement of coming to the weight room. ...Once they (students) start seeing the improvement when they come in, they’ll continue to come.”

Dicks said the facility will be located at the football complex entrance. No construction timetable has been established, he added, “but we hope to have the facility ready near the beginning of school in the fall of 2018.

Kaufman has college degrees in physical therapy and athletic training and physical education. An Olds native where his parents still reside, Kaufman also attained a master’s degree in exercise and sports sciences.

AthletiCo has more than 380 athletic training and physical therapy locations across the United States, including one in Mt. Pleasant.

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