Mount Vernon News
 
 
The outside of the Devil Dome, the new practice facility in Danville, shows a blue-and-white paint scheme. Eventually, the surrounding area will be turned into parking for the 7,200-square foot facility.
The outside of the Devil Dome, the new practice facility in Danville, shows a blue-and-white paint scheme. Eventually, the surrounding area will be turned into parking for the 7,200-square foot facility. (Photo by Bill Davis) View Image

By Mount Vernon News
January 1, 2013 12:01 am EST

 

DANVILLE — A new year starts with a new facility for Danville students.

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The school district’s new athletic practice facility — dubbed the “Devil Dome” — is nearly finished and ready for use.

The new building will be used for all-weather practice by sports teams at every level. The Danville High School wrestling team was the first to use the Devil Dome, when the athletes held practice there Dec. 20, a day after their Mid-Buckeye Conference home quad meet.

“We have two big mats out and all kinds of space,” said Danville wrestling coach Keith Kauffman. “It’s really nice.”

Danville High School principal Ed Honabarger said that, eventually, every sport will make use of the Devil Dome.

“In inclement weather, there will be batting cages in there for baseball and softball,” said Honabarger. “Track can use it, when their season rolls around. Football will use it, too... when lightning comes around, we can go in there and do things.”

The Devil Dome is a fully-heated 7,200-square foot facility with a 22-foot ceiling. There are bathroom facilities and a storage area for sports equipment and cleaning supplies. Eventually, there will be FieldTurf covering the concrete floor. The turf is there but has not yet been placed. Once it is, a tarp will cover it to protect it from wrestling mats.

The building itself came about as a result of a grass roots effort from the community. After Kauffman started the Danville wrestling program in 2010, it was obvious that the athletes needed someplace to practice. The team started out on the auditorium stage, but had to share time with fall and spring plays, cutting practice short.

“When you’re in a small school, you have a lot of conflicts with space,” said Kauffman. “That kind of generated the idea. The Boosters put their heads together and came up with this solution.”

“A couple of buildings in town were for sale,” said Doug Hawk, operator of Danville Feed and Supply. “But we looked at them and decided we could build one cheaper than we could buy one.”

As officials within the school began discussing the idea, the first money came in the form of... corn.

“My daughter was trying to get my father-in-law to donate money,” said Doug Hawk’s brother Dave. “I gave him the idea to donate corn, so he didn’t have to write a check. We’d then sell the corn and donate the money.”

Doug Hawk said their father then promised to match that donation. Then, he said, another farmer matched it.

“(Doug’s) customers then came up with the idea, ‘Why not hit all the farmers up and see what we can get?’” said Dave Hawk.

Overall, about a dozen farmers donated 3,500 bushels of corn and grain, which sold at top market price for approximately $25,000.

Other farmers chipped in monetary donations, raising the pot even higher. By the time the Community Foundation of Mount Vernon and Knox County came by with a $15,000 donation in June, construction was underway.

 

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