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Linderman experiences the end of an era

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POLSON – Small groups gathered all day Tuesday, June 25, to watch a large excavator turn the nearly 70-year-old Linderman Gymnasium into a pile of rubble, dust and memories.

“This is sad,” said one onlooker. “I remember going to high school in that building.”

Linderman Gymnasium was built in 1950 with additions and major remodeling projects performed in 1975, 1997, 2006 and 2008. The 21,300 square-foot gym on the corner of 4th Ave East and 2nd Street East has served the Mission Valley well over the years hosting numerous school and community events such as graduation ceremonies, state playoffs, championships, school plays, holiday craft bazaars and an occasional funeral service. 

“It’s sad to see an era come down,” said Polson School District Superintendent Rex Weltz. “Its’s a sentimental building for a lot of us.”

The demolition and cleanup process of the gym, which has been closed for more than a year and a half due to structural and roof damage sustained during a severe snowstorm, will take about four weeks to sort through and haul away according to Weltz.

New facility construction won’t start until the area is completely cleared. The projected completion goal for the project is in the fall 2020.

Linderman coming down is bittersweet for Weltz. While losing the facility comes with a lot of emotion and memories, Weltz also acknowledged he felt some gratification that there’s some progress happening on a long and arduous negotiation process between the district and the insurance companies to ensure the rebuild project is insurance funded and not a burden to the taxpayers. 

“There’s been a lot of work on it at this point,” said Weltz. “We have worked hard the last year and a half that it was insurance supported and not a community taxpayer burden.”

Recently Weltz and the Polson School District School Board Members issued a statement regarding the Linderman Gym rebuild project. “We would like to thank all of you for the patience exhibited while we have negotiated with the insurance company for a fair settlement for the Linderman Gym. We acknowledge that a full year of negotiations created hardships for students, staff and the community. With the support of local leaders, the resolve of the board and school administration, as well as your patience, we have negotiated a settlement that will fund the complete reconstruction of the Linderman gym complex and bring it up to current code ensuring that this building will be safe and enjoyed by our community for decades to come. We will continue to provide you with information on the design, demolition and construction schedule. Thank you again for your patience and support of the Polson School District and our students.” 

Information on the status of the Linderman Gymnasium is available at https://gateway.polson.k12.mt.us. 

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