School board to get cost estimate on renovating Civic Center

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At its July 17 meeting, the District 17 Board of Education is to get a report on what it could cost to renovate the north end of the Benson Civic Center to be used for high school sports.

Members of the school board and Paul Youngquist, of Architects Rego + Youngquist of St. Louis Park went through the north end of the Civic Center last week to assess it possibilities for the school district.

“It is a nice sized space, 116 by 120, that makes it very useable,” Youngquist told the school board at its June 19 meeting. “That is nearly 14,000 square feet. The runway for the gymnastics fits in there. It is a nice-sized space for gymnastics, volleyball, tennis or batting cages…the dimensions are very workable and the height is very, very helpful.

“So now it is just a matter of how fancy you want to make it, meaning we could put in all new wood floor in there and be ready for basketball and volleyball,” he said.

Most likely just dressing it up with some paint on the walls and maybe cutting in some windows in the sidewalls “and all of a sudden it is a warm, wonderful place to be,” Youngquist said. Putting in some anchors in the floor for gymnastics and tennis and the space could be used for those sports, he said.

CNH Industrial, which has had a long-term lease on the space, has notified the City of Benson that it is moving out of the north end of the Civic Center this fall. That opens up the possibility the space could be available for the Benson High School gymnastics program and other sports.

It could be the answer the school board has been looking for in finding space for its gymnastics program, which currently leases space in the Benson Armory. That space barely has the size to accommodate the program. Further, the city has been considering remodeling the building for a new city hall.

With the Benson Junior High School auditorium out of commission for the 2017-2018 school year due to structural problems with the ceiling, the need for additional gym space is pressing....

 

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