WATERLOO — The National Wrestling Hall of Fame Dan Gable Museum is getting a $1.4 million renovation.
The museum’s been a staple of Waterloo since it moved here from Newton in 2007. This is the museum’s first renovation since coming to the Cedar Valley.
“We are viewing our future through the lens of diversity,” said Kyle Klingman, museum director. “I think that’s an important part of what we do here. We can no longer be just a museum. We need to be more than a museum.”
Over the years the museum has expanded in what it does, acting as a learning and training center.
“We have things we can offer beyond just a museum,” Klingman said. “We had to evolve with the times.”
The renovations will expand the museum’s wrestling room and add new technology.
The wrestling room will be a multi-use space and is the size of two and half wrestling mats, Klingman said. “It’s a pretty good-sized wrestling room.”
“We saw that we needed more space for the wrestling room,” he said. “We have a lot of flexibility of what we can do in this museum.”
Once the wrestling mats are rolled up, the room could be used for graduation parties, wedding receptions or a whole host of other events.
“If you just wanted to come in for any type of convention or situation or graduation whatever you want to dream up, we now have the facility that can accommodate it,” Klingman said. “You can’t just be one lane, we have to be three or four lanes and that’s what we’re able to do with this facility.”
The renovation also will add four kiosks for museum visitors to use.
“That gives us the latitude to save on space,” Klingman said. “If you have 130 hall of famers, which we do, now we can just condense (them) into one monitor.”
The renovation allows the museum to add more, and save space through technology.
The $1.4 million came from grants, fundraising and private donors.
“We’ve been fortunate with a lot of local grants willing to step up,” Klingman said. “Because we’re a national sport, we were able to get donors from across the nation that believed in the product.”
The museum is unique because it speaks at a national and local level, he said.
The museum merged with the National Wrestling Museum in Stillwater, Okla., in 2010.
The museum is expected to reopen March 19 in conjunction with a youth wrestling tournament in the area.
“That’ll be a great way to get thousands of kids here for our grand opening,” Klingman said. “We are extending beyond what we were originally designed for.”