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FDSH auxiliary gym is on the rise

Despite bitter cold, precast panels are being fit into place

-Messenger photo by Joe Sutter Contractors work with a 150 foot crane to move one of the 32-foot precast concrete panels forming the new auxiliary gym at Fort Dodge Senior High. Derek Distad, one of the foremen for Wells Concrete of Wells, Minnesota, said his company's work on the building should be done by the end of today.

As students were getting out of school Thursday afternoon, heavy trucks were rolling in carrying the next two precast panels that will form the new Fort Dodge Senior High auxiliary gym.

Wearing heavy clothes against the 6-degree weather, workers from Wells Concrete, of Wells, Minnesota, guided the flatbed into the worksite.

There, they attached the panel to a 150-foot-tall, 165-ton crane from Dave’s Crane and Wrecker Service, of Union. In a few short minutes, the crane tipped the 32-foot panel upright and swiveled it into place next to a number of others forming the side of the gym.

Work has been going along smoothly.

“Our end will be done by tomorrow,” said Derek Distad, one of the Wells foremen, on Thursday.

-Messenger photo illustration by Joe Sutter As precast panels begin going up, the new auxiliary gym under construction can be seen taking shape next to the Fort Dodge Senior High in this image made from multiple photos. After the concrete work is finished, crews will add joists and then install the ceiling.

“We feel pretty comfortable we’re going to be able to meet the deadline,” said Travis Filloon, Fort Dodge Community School District director of buildings and grounds. “Things are moving as well as they can, with the temperatures we’ve been experiencing.”

Work has been ongoing, but with the panels up everyone can now see what’s being done.

“They’ve been doing a bunch of footing work, but the precast panels arrival moves things forward in a much more obvious manner,” Filloon said.

“If they can get the walls up, then they can put the steel girders in for the roof supports and then put the roof on, enclose the area and start doing some of the work that needs to be done inside,” he added. “It’s always a challenge this time of year to get something enclosed, get out of the weather.”

Kolacia Construction, of Fort Dodge, is the general contractor on the project.

-Messenger photo by Joe Sutter Derek Distad, center, one of the foremen with Wells Concrete working on the new FDSH gym, and others attach a precast panel to a crane while building the exterior of the Fort Dodge Senior High new auxiliary gym.

The work is on track to be finished by July as expected, Filloon said.

In the summer, a separate project will change the current 5,000-square-foot auxiliary gym into a new wrestling room.

The new gym will be large enough to hold some competitions, with seating for up to 200 people.

“We had very little to no seating in old auxiliary gym,” Filloon said.

The new 8,200-square-foot auxiliary gym will be primarily used for sports practice.

-Messenger photo by Joe Sutter A giant crane lifts a precast concrete panel off a flatbed truck and tilts it into place while constructing the new Fort Dodge Senior High auxiliary gym. The concrete work should be finished by today.

The primary school gymnasium will not change.

The new gym will be completely separated from the main building, and is designed to allow public access without going into the main building, Filloon said.

An additional 2,000 square feet will be used for three restrooms, additional storage capacity and a lobby area.

Also included in the project is the addition of a 67-space parking lot next to the new structure.

-Messenger photo by Joe Sutter Workers help guide a 32-foot tall precast concrete panel into place forming the wall of the new Fort Dodge Senior High auxiliary gym. Seven similar panels stand next to it on this side of the gym, while nine form the completed far wall.

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