It’s much more than a gym, with locker rooms, coaches’ offices, an acoustically designed music room, a weight room, a climbing wall and more in store for the 18,000 square-foot building.
One enters the gym from the top of the bleachers, and the shining wooden floors of the basketball court look ready for a game. There’s also a courtside entrance at ground level and the entire building complies with the American Disabilities Act.
Karen McKelvey, the school district’s representative at the construction site and part of a five-person volunteer committee overseeing the almost-completed building, said construction is projected to be complete by the end of March.
Clad in a hardhat, jeans and boots, McKelvey flipped through construction plans in the site trailer before taking a tour of the interior of the stone-surfaced, 18,000 square-foot building, where scores of workers swarmed at every level.
Shaw Construction of Grand Junction is in charge of construction; the firm’s impressive building history includes Capella Telluride, the New Sheridan Hotel, Franz Klammer Lodge, Grand Junction City Hall, Two Rivers Convention Center in Grand Junction, and Folsom Field Stadium in Boulder.
McKelvey spends time working with the construction team as a liaison between Shaw’s representative Rick Buckendorf and the school district.
“We’re all sad we missed basketball season, but it’s a great facility, and we’re hoping we can hold graduation here,” McKelvey said.
The fact that the gym is being built at all is something of a miracle, given that voters approved a $2.1 million bond issue for its construction, despite the economic downturn. Grants from the state’s Department of Local Affairs raised another $480,000 and the community raised another $700,000 to meet the cost of construction.
McKelvey said her committee tried to strive for energy efficiency, pointing to in-ground heat exchangers that have automated controls for efficiency.
“We also have a good R-factor because of the exterior blocks that make the walls six to eight inches thick,” she said. (The term R-factor refers to a measure of thermal conductivity.)
As she stepped over cables and walked through the facility, McKelvey noted that the new gym will also have a 100-space parking lot and a new access road on the back of the Ridgway Secondary School next door, for use by delivery trucks.
“Now the trucks will be able to go to the back of the school for delivery to the kitchen,” she said. “And we will also be able to pick up trash behind the building instead of in front.”
McKelvey said last year that students played a large role in convincing voters to approve the bond issue by giving well-informed public speeches to various groups.
“They never failed to floor people when they were speaking to them in their knowledge of the bond,” school boardmember Kara Mueller said during a groundbreaking ceremony on Aug. 20.
Students also contributed their own money and held numerous fundraisers, and both large and small donations filled the gap, McKelvey said.
“It was literally from pennies in classrooms to sizeable donations from members of the community” that made this possible, she said.