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Community gymnasium.

Student Shaalee Jardine, 15, plays volleyball during P.E. in February at Hansen High School. Hansen School District received a $1 million private donation to build a community gymnasium.

HANSEN — Construction is slated to wrap up in February on a new practice and community gymnasium in Hansen — a project funded largely by a private donation.

In fall 2017, the Hansen School District — which has fewer than 400 students — found out a private family donated $1 million to the school district. The family asked for the money to go toward building a community gymnasium.

With only two school gyms in Hansen — one of which doubles as an elementary school multipurpose room — and a demand for recreational space in town, school officials say the project is a welcome addition.

Dome Technology of Idaho Falls is building the 11,310-square-foot facility, which will include a basketball court, walking track, restrooms, locker rooms and exercise room. The gym is under construction at the corner of Walnut Avenue and Rock Creek Road.

“It seems to be moving along just fine,” Hansen School District Superintendent David Carson said.

“The cold weather kind of slows things up a little bit.”

The vast majority of the $1.1 million price tag will be paid for using the private donation. The district is covering the remaining $100,000 using its voter-approved plant facilities levy.

The school district also plans to put together a fundraising campaign seeking to raise about $30,000 to purchase volleyball and basketball equipment for the new gym.

The gymnasium will be used as a practice facility for Hansen school sports teams. It will also be open to the community, including for indoor walking, and for community youth programs. Hansen Junior/Senior High School plans to continue using its existing gym for games.

Having a new gym will allow for more space and better practice times, instead of practice schedules such as at 6 a.m. or 8 p.m.

“It’s going to alleviate our practice times,” Hansen athletic director Jim Lasso said. Plus, he said, it will allow the school district to host tournaments.

Lasso said he’s also excited for more opportunities for the community and families to use gym space. “I know that’s been pretty popular in the past.”

As construction is underway, the process of finishing the dome roof — which entails creating pressure through an air compressor — should be done soon and the dome will be able to stand on its own, Carson said. “That’s a big milestone that’s coming up in a few weeks.”

After that, crews will work on finishing the interior, including pouring a cement floor and installing the basketball court.


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