Forest Grove sports now have a new home named after longtime coach Jeff Basinski

NEWS-TIMES PHOTO: CHASE ALLGOOD - The Forest Grove volleyball team practices in the school's new athletic facility, the Basinski Center, which was unveiled to the public last week and named after longtime coach and athletic director Jeff Basinski.Friday was a special day at Forest Grove High School.

Late that afternoon, the school honored one of its own and showed off the new indoor home of the Vikings.

Constructed through the passage of a $65.3 million bond measure in 2010, Forest Grove’s new gymnasiums, weight room, locker rooms, athletics office, concessions, athletic training room, and commons foyer were dedicated in a ribbon-cutting ceremony and open house. Located on the west side of the school, the complex shall be known as the Basinski Center, named after former longtime coach and athletic director Jeff Basinski, who retired in 2005 and died in 2011.

The new gym has not been named, but the court has been, after former basketball coach and physical education teacher Joe Duran. That gym will be home to Vikings’ volleyball and basketball teams.

During his remarks to open the event, Forest Grove athletic director Doug Thompson thanked a number of groups and individuals who played a role in the building of the center, including the administration and school board, bond measure committee, Vikings coaches and students, those who constructed the facility, the voters who passed the bond measure, and the two high school booster clubs, old and new.

“We were the only school district in the state that passed that bond in 2010, and that is something we can all be proud of,” Thompson noted.

Other projects funded by the bond measure included a new science wing and an expanded cafeteria and kitchen at the high school, as well as newly built Joseph Gale Elementary School, among other projects.

A crowd of at least a couple hundred individuals attended the opening, including members of the school’s volleyball, football, soccer and cheerleading programs. Forest Grove mayor Pete Truax was also in attendance and gave some remarks, as did Basinski’s son B.J., a Forest Grove graduate who followed in his father’s footsteps to become a coach.

A number of other members of the Basinski family also turned out for the event, including his wife, Connie, who helped cut the ceremonial ribbon outside the center’s main entryway.

After the ribbon-cutting, the crowd went inside, nibbled on cookies and sipped on punch, then walked through the hallways, walkways and rooms of the center.

“It’s just overwhelming for us,” Connie Basinski said while attendees milled around during the open house. “We never expected anything like this. When they called me a couple weeks ago and told me that his name was going to be on the front — they sent me a picture — I just couldn’t believe it.”

Starting this fall, hundreds of Forest Grove athletes will play in the center dedicated in Jeff Basinski’s memory.

The new gym has seating for about 3,000 individuals and is suitable to hold high school commencement ceremonies. The upper gym, just off of the main gym, offers another activity space, while the weight room provides a pleasant view of school athletic fields through spacious windows. The complex is well-lit throughout and includes several trophy cases that will hold honors for Forest Grove state champions, Athletic Hall of Fame members and other significant contributors to Viking athletics.

“Now that I’ve seen it, it is absolutely gorgeous,” Connie Basinski said. “I’ve been to a lot of high school gyms over the years. My son is a coach at Centennial High School, and between him and my husband, I’ve seen a lot of those gyms, and I’ve never seen anything as nice as this. This is wonderful. It will be great for community.”

As the evening started to wind down, Thompson took a few minutes for some reflection. He said that when the volleyball team first started using the new gym a few weeks ago, he took a peek at the proceedings.

“I didn’t want to be a distraction, but I came in, snuck back in when they started and watched them start,” Thompson recalled. “The looks on the kids’ faces — I went, ‘All right, we did a pretty good job with this.’”

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