AUBURN — Bay City Western High School needed a new place for students to lift weights. But instead of imposing a tax increase to fund the project, James R. Johnson and Tom Christensen went to the Bay City Schools Board with a proposal to ask the community for donations of money, time, labor and materials. The community responded.

Fundraising began last fall, and the 3,200 square-foot fitness center officially opened in October. Everyone from boosters and student groups to local cement companies and plumbers unions donated their time, skills and materials to building the $300,000 facility.