Ryan Lee and Alexis Rauso purchased the Hayden Masonic Temple earlier this month and are remodeling it to house the H Town Underground fitness center.

Photo by Matt Stensland

Ryan Lee and Alexis Rauso purchased the Hayden Masonic Temple earlier this month and are remodeling it to house the H Town Underground fitness center.

H Town Underground buys 'Fitness Temple' in Hayden

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— Two Hayden residents have jumped at an opportunity to purchase a historic downtown building to house their H Town Underground fitness center.

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Justin Hayes paints a mural on a wall at the H Town Underground gym.

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Courtesy photo

Justin Hayes paints a mural on a wall at the H Town Underground gym.

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The Hayden Masonic Temple at 299 W. Jefferson Ave. is being remodeled to house the H Town Underground gym.

Ryan Lee and Alexis Rauso closed on the purchase of the Hayden Masonic Temple earlier this month. While giving a tour of the building Friday, the couple pointed out all the work that has been done and exciting possibilities for the future.

“It’s a perfect size, and it’s right downtown,” Lee said.

The building is on the Routt County Register of Historic Places. It first was used by the Masons in 1935 and has unique characteristics. Most notable is that it was not built parallel to Jefferson Avenue. Instead, the building is angled slightly and was built with the walls facing true north, south, east and west in line with Mason beliefs.

“The history is great,” Lee said.

Upstairs is a large open room with high ceilings that the Masons would use as their worship space. Lee and Rauso ripped out the carpet and removed the furniture and old altar exposing the original oak wood floor. The floor will be covered once again in a couple weeks with rubber gym flooring. Locals artists are painting murals on the walls.

The gym, or as Lee calls it, the Fitness Temple, should be open by mid-January to Feb. 1, Lee said.

Downstairs is another large room with a kitchen last remodeled in the 1960s that Lee envisions could house more exercise equipment and be more of a classic gym that people could use any time.

“There are a lot of possibilities down here,” Rauso said.

The upstairs area mainly will be used for Lee to teach one-hour group classes that he has been teaching at the high school gym. Lee worked with Manic Training’s Graham Muir in Steamboat Springs throughout the years to develop the H Town Underground program.

Lee described the one-hour classes as full-body functional training with a focus on improving strength, endurance and agility.

Lee and Rauso are personal trainers. Rauso said once the gym opens, she plans to do more personal training as well as nutritional consulting. Other exercise instructors might want to use the space as well for classes such as yoga.

There also is a demand for space for people to practice mixed martial arts, Lee said.

Lee said his fitness business has grown to about 30 people, and that is what prompted him to start looking at getting his own space.

He asked the Masons if they would be willing to rent out the building. Lee said they said "no," so he made a low offer, and the Masons agreed to sell for $55,000.

Aside from renovations to the building, Lee and Rauso are tackling other business projects such as building a website. Currently, people can find out more information by visiting the H Town Underground page on Facebook.

Hayden real estate agent Amy Williams helped Lee and Rauso buy the building, and she has been attending Lee’s classes two or three times per week since February.

“You get your money's worth,” Williams said. “It’s never the same.”

Williams said H Town Underground’s new home will be an asset for the town, and it is a great way to utilize the Hayden Masonic Temple building.

“It’s really nice to have a high-quality program in Hayden,” Williams said.

To reach Matt Stensland, call 970-871-4247, email mstensland@SteamboatToday.com or follow him on Twitter @SBTStensland

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