The O'Neill School's want to welcome everyone to the new Aerie this Friday night. The Eagles will be hosting Ord for a JV/Varsity girls and boys match-up. KBRX will honor the first 200 people in the gym, who will receive a commemorative mini-basketball to mark the event. There will also be a commemorative insert in Friday night’s programs as the school celebrates the past and looks forward to the future.
"As we prepare to dedicate our new gymnasium, I thought it might be fun to reminisce a bit about the first game played in our “old” gymnasium. When you’re looking for historical facts, who do you call but our very own historian, Gary Hostert. According to Gary’s research via a December 10th article in the Holt County Independent, the first game was played on December 4, 1964. O’Neill Public played O’Neill St. Mary’s in a tough inner-city battle, with O’Neill Public coming out on top by a score of 62-58. Dr. Jerry Brockman was one of the players on the floor that night, scoring 11 points for the Eagles. Other players on the 1964 team according to the 1964 yearbook included Eddie Bright, Ivan Hurley, Frank Grenier, Mark Stenbeck, Rick Cradit, Ken Lieb, Gary Godel, Russ Johnson, John Sivesand, and Larry Krugman. Their coach was Dean Houfek. Many great volleyball and basketball seasons were played in that facility, including state championship campaigns for the boys in 1983, 1991, 1996, 2016, and 2017 and for the girls in 1978, 1979, 1980, 1999 and 2000.
We will continue to utilize our old gymnasium for JV games, junior high PE classes, and a wide variety of fine arts events," said O'Neill Superintendent Amy Shane.
"We have added roughly 65,000 sq. ft. of classrooms, commons, office, and athletic space to the Jr. Sr. High School through this project. This includes: three state of the art science rooms, two classrooms and a life skills area for our Center for Teaching and Learning, a resource room, Jr. High and High School/Activities commons areas, new administrative offices, seven Jr. High classrooms, a new concession area, remodeled art and music room, a brand new state of the art music room, and a competition gymnasium with four locker rooms and a training room.
I want to thank the following individuals for their role in bringing this wonderful new addition to fruition. Those serving on the board when the project was initiated, Board President Jim Gotschall, Vice-President Ellen Boshart, Amy Rowse, Jim Sibbel, Tom Stepp, and Jim Wakefield. They showed the courage to embark on this project and dream big for today’s students and all those that will benefit in the future.
We are also extremely grateful for the services of our architects, Davis Design, and our construction managers, Hausmann Construction Inc. They worked side by side with us, as we designed and built this incredible addition. They were able to maintain the beauty of the old while enhancing opportunities with the new.
We were able to utilize many local subcontractors and businesses on this project, including Schmitz Electric, Shad’s Electric, Bartak Glass, John Prouty Construction, Cole Redi-Mix, Guardian Security Services, Blain Pumping and Plumbing, Doty Plumbing, Dugan Builders, Emme Sand and Gravel, Steppco Refrigeration, Carhart Lumber, Holz Lumber, the City of O’Neill and the City of O’Neill Recycling. Other subcontractors with local ties included Fire Protection Services – owned by O’Neill alumni Dan Hershiser and Engineered Controls – owned by O’Neill alumni Todd Schmidt. Numerous St. Mary’s and OHS graduates worked for various companies on this project, it was great to have their friendly faces in our building.
These new facilities will create opportunities, not only for our students but our community as a whole. We will be hosting a variety of eve. The biggest of those being a scrimmage between the Division II National volleyball runners-up from the University of Nebraska at Kearney and Midland University on April 23rd This is sure to bring many volleyball enthusiasts from the area to town.
I want to thank our parents, students and staff for their patience as this project unfolded. I know that drop off and parking wasn’t always easy, and things got a bit noisy and dirty at times. You all powered through like champions. Mr. Steve Brown particularly has put countless hours into ensuring that the final product is what we were hoping for. A big thanks to the school’s neighbors who also put up with parking and traffic challenges on a daily basis…we are truly indebted. Thank you also to Dr. Dan Nekolite at Finish Line Chiropractic, First Christian Church, and the O’Neill Armory who allowed overflow parking for sporting events after hours. To all taxpayers and patrons of this school district, I understand that you bear the burden of paying for this wonderful new facility. With the lease purchase agreement in place, we will complete our payment schedule in January of 2026. The wind farm nameplate capacity taxes that are now being used to help make payments can then be returned to the taxpayers in reduced tax asking. You are helping to build a bright future for not only O’Neill Public Schools, but also the City of O’Neill. We hope many of our O’Neill alumni will want to come home and send their children to this wonderful educational facility.
Construction of the project began in July of 2018.