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Aug. 2020 Jefferson Award: Dave Heck and Mike Roberts

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Rhinelander, Wis (WAOW) - Two Rhinelander men receive Jefferson Awards.

Dave Heck and Mike Roberts volunteer for the Hodag Sports Complex.

Heck is the President of the Hodag Schools Foundation.

Mike Roberts a member of the Rhinelander School Board.

'This one is going to be a game changer for Rhinelander, " Dave Heck says.

"Everything came together perfectly to get it done," Mike Roberts adds.

The complex is an $8.5 million dollar-- inflatable dome-- under construction behind Rhinelander High School.

"It is a year-round 127,000 square foot indoor facility" Roberts explains." It will have track, full soccer pitch and four tennis courts.

It will also be home to football, baseball, softball, basketball, pickle ball and other activities.

The project began in 2018 with a $500,000 donation from Dr. Lee Swank for an indoor athletic facility.

Together, Heck and Roberts set out to bring a dome to Rhinelander.

So far, $2 million dollars has been donated to the project.

Plus, the school district will provide millions more.

The men see it as an investment in the community.

"We are really the only place you will be able to can have an indoor soccer or softball tournament in January," Heck says.

And restaurants, gas stations and hotels can benefit when sporting events and trade shows take place in the dome.

Plus, they hope to generate revenue by renting out space in the dome to other schools.

Hodag Schools Foundation Secretary/Treasurer, Julie Bronson sent in the nomination for Heck and Roberts.

"They say it's a team effort-- but you have to have someone step out and lead and those two have done it," Julie Bronson says.

Planning is under way for an open house this fall.

"This will be absolutely incredible--it's going to be a really big deal," Heck says.

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Melissa Langbehn

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