PATEROS Pateros High School’s new sports equipment shed started with an idea, a design and a little fire.
Jessi Dowers, 18, is in the process of building the new shed at the south end of the field by the concession stand. She decided to make it her senior project.
“Pateros school has never had a sports facility shed for track, and the old ones were super, super bad,” she said.
Principal Mike Hull said Dowers’ project is “a great benefit” for the school.
“It will give us valuable storage for our outdoor sports teams,” he said. “Those teams are now sharing one common facility and it is very crowded. We really appreciate Jessi’s work on this project.”
The new building replaces two dilapidated, smaller sheds that only had room for baseball and softball gear. For now, track equipment is mostly stored at her house and in her mother’s vehicle. Carlene Anders is the track team coach.
“My mom’s van always turned into a moving storage shed for track,” she said. “I really wanted to do this to pay back the school for everything that they’ve done and to help my mom out, because she’s just awesome.”
Dowers is an avid athlete herself, having spent all four years of high school on the track and volleyball teams, and the last three years on the basketball team. She skis, too.
Her other motive is to gain more knowledge about her chosen career, architecture. She plans to attend Montana State University in the fall.
“I wanted to do this so I could really feel what it was like to be able to build a building after I designed the whole thing,” she said. Help and advice came from architect Larry Hibbard of Manson.
“It’s really given me a good feeling… when I head over to college in August, for me to know that I will be able to design things that will work. It’s a nice reassurance and just a really cool experience that I’ve been having.”
One of Dowers’ first tasks was to get rid of the old sheds, which had holes, doors that stuck, unstable ceilings and a host of other problems.
A volunteer firefighter, she recruited her peers with Pateros Fire Department to burn the sheds down in October.
“It took a little bit of gasoline and some blowtorches to light them, and then the trucks sprayed down everything we didn’t want to get burned,” she said. “I love firefighting, so it was very fun for me, and the rest of the fire department was very happy to see the sheds go.”
Dowers estimated about $10,000 to complete the project.
All the materials and labor have been donated, she said. Gravel and concrete for the base came from Godbey Red E Mix, wood and studs came from Valley Lumber, Lake Chelan Building Supply donated plywood for the walls and roof, and Western Material is donating metal for the roofing.
“It’s almost complete; just need the roofing, the doors and the siding,” Dowers said, noting her gratitude to the donors. “It’s going to be much bigger (14x20 feet).”