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On time, in time: Minnesota West gym renovation half done

Minnesota West Community and Technical College Facility Director Jeff Harms (right) gives a tour to Campus Dawn Gordon (center), and Amber Luinenburg, Minnesota West coordinator of communications, marketing and advertising. (Aaron Hagen/Daily Globe)2 / 4
A pile of bricks lays in front of what will become the entry to the new gymnasium on the Worthington campus of Minnesota West Community and Technical College. (Aaron Hagen/Daily Globe)3 / 4
The new addition to the gym at Minnesota West Community and Technical College, Worthington campus is shown Wednesday morning. (Aaron Hagen/Daily Globe)4 / 4

WORTHINGTON -- Four and a half months after Minnesota West Community and Technical College, Worthington campus, broke ground on its Health and Wellness Center renovation and addition project, Director of Facilities Jeff Harms said the project is on schedule and is more than half completed.

"We hit the 50-percent mark at the end of last week. We're moving along on schedule, both for the renovation and the new construction," he said.

The project includes updated restrooms, spacious hallways, a coach's office suite and many new features.

Within the renovated section of the building, walls have been moved and new walls added to maximize the existing space.

While the previous building only had two locker rooms and forced teams to share spaces on game nights, the new facility will have a men's and women's locker room for both the home and the visiting teams. Harms anticipates the rooms will be complete by Aug. 1.

The next step in the renovation will be moving the east wall of the gym back 25 feet.

New bleachers will be installed, more than doubling the bleacher capacity of the room, and a new wood floor will be put into place for the court.

"To install the floor, we need to control the humidity and temperature of the room. The ideal time to lay the floor will be when there is no rain or snow. Moisture is the big thing," Harms said.

The subcontractor who will install the floor won't even come in to look at the site until after the cement has cured for at least 60 days.

"So if we pour the floor in April but it takes a long time to dry, they might end up pushing back when they can start putting in the floor," he said.

The addition will incorporate a new entrance, concession and gathering area and multipurpose rooms. The most recent item checked off the addition list was pouring the floor, which was completed just last week, Harms said.

The new design incorporates the original exterior east wall and will be fitted with display cases for trophies.

Several multipurpose rooms have been added, and Amber Luinenburg, Minnesota West director of communication and marketing, said she anticipates those rooms will be used as classrooms, meeting rooms and for event overflow.

"This will be great for community events. There just isn't enough meeting space in town right now," Luinenburg said.

The structure will boast high ceilings throughout, adding to the open feel of the building.

"Our shortest ceiling is over 9 feet. If we didn't need all the ductwork and cabling, they'd be even higher," Harms said.

The building also has many new green energy features. To the south is a geothermal well field with 72 wells that will heat and cool the building.

While there is also a backup boiler on site, Harms said, "The geothermal is a big step for us, and wells will take care of all the heating, except for the really cold days, and 100 percent of the cooling."

Harms noted that the Canby campus has been using geothermal heating for years, and the green technology was a natural choice for the Worthington campus.

New energy-efficient lighting will be added to the gym and throughout the building to greatly reduce energy costs.

Triple-pane glass will be used to complete the front of the building, allowing for natural light and additional efficiency.

Contractors, many local, are completing all of the work on the project.

"There is a lot of southwest Minnesota money in this project," Harms added.

Overseeing the construction is general contractor Terra Construction, based in Rogers.

General contractor Joel Peterson said the project has been going well so far.

"We need to see what Mother Nature does, but hopefully spring will help. If Mother Nature cooperates, I believe we'll be able to get done quicker than anticipated. I've had a good project team to work with, and we're really pleased with the progress of the project," he said.

Daily Globe Reporter Alyson Buschena may be reached at 376-7322.

Alyson Buschena
Alyson joined the Daily Globe newsroom staff after spending a year in Latin America. A native of Fulda and graduate of the University of Northwestern, she has a bachelor's degree in English with a dual concentration in Literature and Writing and a minor in Spanish. At the Daily Globe, Alyson covers the crime beat as well as Pipestone and Murray counties, community news and feature stories. In her spare time, she enjoys traveling, reading, and cooking. More of Alyson's writing can be found at
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