ODELL -- It's been a long time coming, but Diller-Odell athletics finally has a new home.
The Lady Griffins volleyball team hosted Falls City Sacred Heart Tuesday night in the brand new $4.5 million facility, which is connected to the high school on the north side.
Superintendent Mike Meyerle said it was an exciting night in Diller-Odell history. The project began taking form about three years ago.
"It's been a long process, but a good process," Meyerle said. "We outgrew what we had in the old gym and to try and stay relevant and keep up with other schools, we just felt like we needed to do something and the time was right."
With the new gym, Diller-Odell goes from having one of the older athletic facilities to having perhaps one of the nicest in the state.
It will not only benefit high school athletics, but also junior high athletics, speech, play production and other things.
"We just have much more space now," Meyerle said. "It was long overdue and it's not really a luxury item. Most schools have more up-to-date competition gyms than what was built in 1959. We were about as old as any competition gyms around."
The new gym has a concession area separated from the gym by a glass wall, so patrons can still watch the game as they stand in line.
"We kind of stole as many good ideas as we could from different places," Meyerle said. "Doane College has something similar with the glass and we liked that."
Meyerle said they couldn't afford to build a sunken-in gym, but they built it uniquely so there is a walking and standing area above the home side's sitting area. There's also a sitting area for students on the side opposite of the concession stand.
"We just tried to take ideas from many of the places that we liked and make it unique to us," Meyerle said. "The architect was great to work with. They did a lot of asking and didn't just tell us how it had to be done. There was a lot of committee work involved, a lot of meetings and a lot of hard work to get to where we are tonight."
Meyerle said the old gym isn't going away as they still plan to hold events there, such as graduation.
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Diller-Odell is financing the gym through their regular budget in a special building fund and they plan to have it paid off in the next five to seven years.
The Diller-Odell volleyball team did a nice job christening the new gym by sweeping Falls City Sacred Heart 25-20, 25-9, 25-17.
With the win, the Lady Griffins run their record to a perfect 7-0 on the season. They've not only not lost a match, but they haven't lost a set all season.
"We started a little slow tonight, but we picked up our game," said Diller-Odell Coach Kandice Jurgens. "Our serve receive wasn't quite where we wanted it to be tonight. I thought we moved the ball around and played pretty good defense and we were strong at the net."
Karlie Heidemann led the way for Diller-Odell with 12 kills while Mackenzie Vitosh had nine kills, Madelyn Meyerle had eight kills, Emily Swanson had five kills, Addison Heidemann had four kills and Ashtyn Humphreys had one kill.
Addison Heidemann had 16 assists while Lovitt had eight assists.
Diller-Odell had 12 ace serves in the match. Addison Heidemann had five of those aces while Meyerle had three, Karlie Heidemann had two and Vitosh and Ava Lovitt had one each.
Defensively, Vitosh had four blocks while Karli Heidemann had three blocks.
Jurgens thinks her team's slow start might be because of the excitement of playing in their new home gym.
"There was excitement about playing in the new gym," Jurgens said. "Once we settled in, we were able to control the game and take care of things on our side of the net."
Diller-Odell will host Lewiston on Thursday night before traveling to Beatrice next week for the MUDECAS Tournament.