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Lt. Gov. Mike Cooney, center, tours the former Montana Developmental Center gym Oct. 9.

An agreement between the Montana Department of Public Health and Human Services and Jefferson High School will allow cheerleaders and other athletes to practice in the otherwise unused gym on the former Montana Developmental Center campus.

The Jefferson High School District No. 1 board — absent member Denise Brunett — unanimously approved the agreement at its Nov. 19 meeting. Under its terms DPHHS will not charge the school to use it, but requires the school to provide a certificate of insurance and assume all responsibility for liability arising from its use of the facility.

Superintendent Tim Norbeck said the school would also provide custodial services and possibly “work out a deal” to help resurface the floor if student use proves sufficiently heavy.

“We have a crunch for space for practices and stuff and I’m not a big fan of 6 a.m. practices,” he told the board in pitching the agreement. “I think it deters from the academic components.”

Norbeck also said that the school’s insurer, PayneWest, “had no issues with” the agreement and provided the required certificate.

The agreement lasts for one year and may be renewed, according to its terms. The school must provide notice to DPHHS no later than 48 hours before scheduled use.

After the vote board member Bryher Herak remarked that the agreement provided for a “fabulous use of that gym.”

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