- Associated Press - Wednesday, July 20, 2016

SPRINGVILLE, Ind. (AP) - A historic gym in Springville has been destroyed in a fire.

The fire ravaged the approximately 80-year-old gym on Tuesday around 1 a.m., the Indianapolis Star (https://indy.st/2ac748s ) reported. The cause of the fire is undetermined.

In the fire’s immediate aftermath, it’s unclear whether parts of the gym that’s built with southern Indiana field stone can be salvaged. All four sides of the building remain upright, though there are perceptible cracks in some areas of the rock walls.

The roof’s beams crashed to the concrete floor, and six rows of bleachers were burned. Tiny shards of the glass windows were found several yards from the structure.

“This brought tears to a lot of eyes,” said Bob Phillips, a Perry Township trustee and Springville native and resident. “Including mine. It’s heartbreaking. There was a lot of work put into this gym from a lot of people.”

The building has served as a school gym, community center, wedding hall and meeting space for Cub Scouts, families and class reunions.

“It’s everything,” said Tammy Holland, who attended elementary school at Springville. “It’s my whole family heritage. I remember walking down the road to go to gym class here. It’s hard. Really hard. It’s sad.”

Perry Township fire Capt. Dennis Godsey has been instrumental in caring for the Springville gym and told residents gathered outside the gym Tuesday that he plans to start a committee to reconstruct the building.

“That’s on the assumption that the concrete floor is still good,” Phillips said. “I think it will be.”

Holland said she would like to see the structure rebuilt.

“If it’s not rebuilt in some way, we are going to lose that close-knit connection,” Holland said. “It’s devastating to see it. You just took the heart right out of Springville. This was the vital, beating heart of Springville.”

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Information from: The Indianapolis Star, https://www.indystar.com

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