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Rhinelander High School building state-of-the-art athletic dome

Published: Sep. 1, 2020 at 7:09 PM CDT
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RHINELANDER, Wis. (WSAW) - Rhinelander High School is just a few months away from completing a project that will make history.

“I suppose we could even do a Bon Jovi concert if we had to,” Rhinelander board of education president Ron Counter said.

Last winter, an extremely generous donation got this project off the ground.

“A physician in the Rhinelander area by the name of Lee Swank, donated a half-million dollars,” Counter said.

The price tag is now over $8.5 million but talks about getting bang for your buck.

“So right here we’ll have four tennis courts, that will also be able to be used for pickleball,” Rhinelander High School athletic director Brain Paulson said.

“The two in-dome softball fields, this is home plate on one, the other home plate will be in the opposite corner,” Counter said.

Not to mention an indoor track, batting cages, and a golf simulator. It will be especially helpful for Rhinelander’s spring athletes when practices outside are often impossible with snow still on the ground.

“Our track team running on tile, running in the hallways, you know training that way,” Paulson said. “And then also just the limited space, staying up until 10 o’clock at night for indoor practices.”

The facility will be available to the entire Rhinelander community, and the hope is that its impact goes even beyond student-athletes.

“What doctors here in town, professionals, businessman, new businesses,” Paulson said. “You know are they going to choose to live here or are they going to go to Minocqua? Or go to Three Lakes?”

Again, Rhinelander, Wisconsin, home to the biggest high school dome in the country, pretty wild to wrap your head around.

“It’s just crazy because I think growing up here, I never thought we’d get anything like this, and I never talked to anyone who even imagined something like this,” Counter said.

The plan is for the dome to have a soft opening on Oct. 3, and for it to be fully available for the Rhinelander community by election day.

Copyright 2020 WSAW. All rights reserved.

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