Current view of New Providence School Gymnasium
Courtesy of the Hardin County Community Development Council
The New Providence School Gymnasium was erected in 1936 to enhance
the educational experience of the students attending the New Providence Consolidated
School. Constructed as a Public Works Adminstration (PWA) project, the two-story
round, double wall building was constructed with 13 inch hollow tile blocks with
a brick exterior. Although it was not the first round gym in Iowa, it was the
first one of this size and, when constructed, was the most modern gym in the locality.
The entrance is on the ground level and is open to the full height of the building
with windows on three sides. On either side of the entryway are two wooden staircases
which ascend to the gymnasium and descend into the lunchroom. The upper floor
holds the basketball court, stage, and bleachers. The basketball court is 72 by
38 feet. A steel structural system carries the dome, about 35 feet at its highest
point, allowing for a clear span on the interior.
The New Providence School
Gymnasium was one of 32 PWA school buildings planned by Keffer & Jones, Architects,
of Des Moines, Iowa. J. E. Lovejoy Construction of Des Moines was the contractor.
Its style is the PWA Moderne typical of numerous federal government buildings
of the 1930s and 1940s. At the time of its construction, the round shape of the
building was so unusual that many people made fun of it. All the basketball tournaments
in the area were hosted here. After serving the community for more than 50 years
as a school facility, the gymnasium is now being restored and maintained by a
non-profit community betterment organization, Renewal Community, Inc. as a community
activity center. This spacious and well-equipped facility has become a popular
place for graduation receptions, birthday parties, family Christmas gatherings,
and the annual Halloween Carnival.
The New Providence School Gymnasium is
located at 106 N Main Ave., New Providence, Iowa. It is not open to the public,
but to schedule an event call Kay Clampitt at 641-497-5353.