Kesseler Family Fitness Center

Kesseler Family Fitness Center-1The Kesseler Family Fitness Center, located at the north end of the GHS gymnasium, was dedicated on May 29, 2008. The project was initiated by Crawford County citizens and funded by contributions from local individuals, businesses and organizations along with a major donation from Roger and Phyllis Kessler.

Pictured in the photo are Roger, Phyllis, George and Jim Kesseler at GHS on the day of the dedication. Roger Kesseler said, "The weight room is in honor of all the Kesseler family -- including my brothers, mother and dad -- who attended and are graduates of Grayling High School." 

The fitness center provides a 600-square foot area, new cardiovascular equipment for students in physical education classes and student athletes and a practice facility for the GHS wrestling team. Students in the Building Trades class assisted with the construction.

Roger and Phyllis Kesseler

Both Roger and Phyllis Kesseler are Grayling High School graduates -- Roger in 1954 and Phyllis (Ziebell) in 1951. While in high school, Roger participated in track, football, basketball, baseball and the junior and senior plays. Phyllis played in the marching band.
Mr. Kesseler graduated cum laude from from Central Michigan University, completed eight years in the U.S. Army Reserves and worked for Dow Chemical Company where he advanced in rank to vice president.
He serves on the Central Michigan University Board of Trustees. At CMU, the Roger L. and Phyllis J. Kesseler Finance and Accounting Resource Center was named in honor of them. In 2003, a new residence hall at CMU was dedicated to Mr. and Mrs. Kesseler "in honor of their long-standing commitment to the university and their ability to lead by example." 

At GHS, Mr. and Mrs. Kesseler award a four-year scholarship annually to one GHS senior to attend CMU. The Kesseler family -- Roger, his brothers and their wives -- also award two $1,000 scholarships to GHS seniors each year in honor of their parents, Jerome and Loretta Kesseler.

Roger Kesseler was inducted into the CASD Alumni Hall of Fame in 2004.

He was also one of two inaugural inductees into the CMU College of Business Administration (CBA) Hall of Fame in 2013.     Learn more about Roger Kesseler's induction

About the Fitness Center

The GHS Weight Room -- named the Kesseler Family Fitness Center -- was a community project initiated by Crawford County citizens to benefit students. The steering committee (whose members are listed below) asked for help "to build this new facility brick by brick" with a fundraising goal of $100,000. The community responded, allowing a new weight room and physical fitness center to be constructed at the north end of the gymnasium. The new facility provides many benefits to students:

  • providing a new area for the students in Fitness and Strength & Conditioning classes and student athletes with an increased space of 600 square feet and with new cardiovascular equipment.
  • bringing the wrestling team back home to GHS to practice on the gym mezzanine and use other GHS facilities.
  • scheduling youth wrestlers earlier practice time than the current 6:30-8:00 p.m. at the middle school.
  • allowing for a greater variety of activities for all GHS physical education students to help them live healthy lifestyles.
  • providing more opportunities for student athletes in spring sports to practice their sports when snow is still on the ground, which results in better practice times, students getting home earlier and fewer morning practices. 
  • providing the Building Trades class the opportunity to learn and develop pride and ownership by participating in a real-life commercial construction process.
  • protecting the new gymnasium floor by providing an exit hallway instead of the present gym doors that open directly into the northern Michigan elements.
  • replacing the current weight room, which needs to be moved because it is deteriorating the structure of the mezzanine.

The GHS Weight Room Steering Committee:
Rick Schmidt, Parent & President of the Grayling Youth Booster Club
Joe Ferrigan, Parent, Construction Trades Instructor, Wrestling Coach
Bill Dean, Parent & Community Leader
Craig Stewart, Parent & Community Leader
Doug Pummell, Parent & GHS Athletic Director
Ben Brock, GHS Health Department Chair & Varsity Football Coach
Joe Powers, Parent & CASD Superintendent

History of the Fitness Center Project

May 2007
The walls are going up on the Weight Room. After the snow finally melted, John-Al Construction, Jack Millikin, Inc. and Kernstock Builders -- all donated labor -- started to put up the walls. Joe Ferrigan and students from his Building Trades class have helped with the project, and everyone is excited to see the work being done. When finished, it will be another strong asset for our school and our athletics program. Fundraising continues with a recent $50,000 donation by Roger and Phyllis Kesseler, bringing the total donations and pledges to $107,000.

January 2008
We've met our goal of $100,000! Thanks for your support.

The cold weather is hampering the progress somewhat, but the roof is installed, and we are waiting for DTE to connect the gas for heat. Thanks to the generosity of Jeff Rose (mechanical) and Jerry Northrop (crane), the heating unit is set on the roof. Great Lakes Roofing donated the labor for the roof, and it was completed with the assistance of Darvin Powell and the Construction Trades classes of GHS. AuSable Construction and Bill Weaver were kind enough to install the doors. Jason Small and Primary Electric will be donating time and expertise to complete the electrical work as well as help instruct our Construction Trades students for this commercial project. The final piece will be the painting of the walls which will be completed by the Construction Trades classes.

We hope to open the Weight Room near spring break. We will have a dedication and ribbon-cutting ceremony in May; please join us to celebrate this wonderful addition for our students.

Fundraising for the Fitness Center Project

Individuals and/or families were invited to buy one brick for $100, 3 bricks for $300 or 5 bricks for $500. Brick donations were memorialized in the new weight room.

Larger contributions, which were identified on a plaque in the gymnasium -- included $10,000 (platinum donors), $5,000 (gold donors) and $1,000 (silver donors).

As of January 2008, the $100,000 goal was met.

In-Kind Contributions by Businesses (as of February 2008):

  • F. Fedak Corporation (Fred Fedak) ~ donation of labor and equipment to erect an iron and metal deck
  • Jack Millikin, Inc. (J.C. Millikin and Jerry Millikin) ~ donation of 120 man hours for laying the blocks
  • Tompkins Excavating (Todd Tompkins) ~ donation of demo sidewalk, topsoil stripping, digging and backfilling the foundation
  • John-Al Construction (Craig Stewart) ~ construction coordinator and donation of labor and equipment to pour floor and do layout and engineering work
  • M & S Masonry (Bob Starks) ~ donation of labor for block foundation and floor
  • Kernstock Builders (Don Kernstock) ~ donation of labor for block work
  • Primary Electric (Dave Small and Jason Small) ~ donation of electric work coordination
  • West Michigan Trane ~ donation of roof top unit and start-up & calibrations
  • Great Lakes Roofing (Rob Policka) ~ donation of labor for roof
  • Mayday Windows (Ray Swiercz and Mark Swiercz) ~ donation of windows
  • Jeff Rose ~ donation of mechanical labor for heating unit and plumbing
  • AuSable Construction (Bill Weaver) ~ donation of labor to install the doors
  • Jerry Northrop ~ donation of crane equipment and labor

Additional Contributions by Individuals, Organizations & Businesses (as of January 2008):

Special Donation ($50,000/+)
The Kesseler Foundation ~ Roger & Phyllis Kesseler

Gold Donors ($5,000/+):
Grayling Youth Booster Club
AuSable Eye Care / Dean & Aubry, Optometrists, P.C.
Grayling Rotary Club

Silver Donors ($1,000/+):
Weldon & Lois Nielson
Tom & Elizabeth Tyron
Irene D. Murphy ~ In Memory of Ransom Murphy
The Robert & Clara Sorenson Family
Jeff & Michele Steffey
Jim & Dianne Tobin
Michael Wieland
Chemical Bank
Melissa Stone
Paul Lerg
Paul & Susan Owens
Huntington Bank
Citizens Bank
Craig & Jody Hinkle
Mike & Dianne Branch
Grayling AuSable Football League
Weyerhaeuser Company Foundation
Doug & Doniel Pummell
Joe & Cyndi Powers
Brian & Toni Banda
Grayling Youth Wrestling

Roy O. Milnes Jr.
Richard & Barbara Febey
Larry G. Pond
Barbara J. Nelson
Matt Haight
Gene & Shirley Rauch
Dorothy M. Walker
John & Patricia Schneider
Robert, Nicholas & Erin (Jones) Miller
Ilene Anthony
Vivette E. (Isenhauer) Davis
Scheer Motors
Russell Phillips
Doug & Darlene Jensen
Grayling Recreational Authority
Douglas Slater
Arthur R. Thayer
Hart Motors
K. Ramaswamy, M.D.
Rhea Gierke
Nancy Lemmen ~ In Memory of David Lemmen
Mark Hansen & Nancy Lemmen
Mark, Julie & Matt Ginther
Mr. & Mrs. Bill Kellogg Jr.
Bill & Sharon Klinger
Jim Hill 
Jon Thompson ~ In Memory of Ross P. Thompson
Judy Davis ~ In Memory of Howard L. Davis
Mark & Marilyn Hartman
The Jeffry Osga Family
Bob & Mickey Strong
Jeff & Anne Branch
Barbara Mick
Bear's Den, Inc.
Judge Janet Allen
Grayling Eagles
Thomas Koernke
John G. Hunter
Butch & Mary Brown
Dr. Melissa L. Meldrum-Aaberg
Matt Evon
Marv Bielski
Lions Club
Hard Bodyz
DuBois Lumber
Angie Camp
Mike Dunckel
Jane Lange
Jim Hulbert
Jack Pilon
Lewis Madill
Fifth/Third Bank
Rich Ferrigan
Jay, Jane & Jimmy Osga
Class of 2006
Ron & Judy Johnston ~ In memory of Alan Johnston
Scott & Kim Johnston ~ in memory of Alan Johnston
Mike Johnston (Lee Designs) ~ in memory of Alan Johnston
Dan & Val Walker
Fraternal Order of the Eagles #3465