Moose Lake Star Gazette - Serving Carlton and Pine Counties Since 1895

By Lois E. Johnson
Moose Lake Star-Gazette 

Offer for purchase of old school accepted


The Moose Lake School Board accepted an offer from Phoenix Companies to purchase the old school at a special meeting of the board on Tuesday, February 20.

Superintendent Robert Indihar told the board that offers were received, but one backed out. The other offers were from Northland Custom Builders and Phoenix Companies.

Phoenix Companies had the highest offer of $170,000, which includes the baseball field on the north end of the building.

“They plan on developing the high school wing into new multi-family housing,” Indihar explained. “The gym will remain. The elementary wing will be developed into commercial and residential space. It will be a multi-purpose living and work center.”

Indihar explained that the school will be able to maintain and use the baseball field for five years.

Board member Julie Peterson asked if the city had been contacted about retaining the baseball field.

Indihar replied that Moose Lake City Administrator Tim Peterson had said the city did not want the baseball field.

Julie Peterson said the city council should have been asked. When the vote was called to accept the offer from Phoenix Companies, Peterson voted no for that reason.

“I’m not against selling the school,” she explained.

The motion passed. All of the other school board members voted yes.

The closing date is June 20.

Scott Sosalla from ARI, the new school’s architects, brought two concept drawings of a complex of four softball fields and cost estimates for those and other outdoor facilities for the board to review.

The fields would be located behind the school, in an area where there was a level surface left from the construction of the school.

Each of the drawings featured four practice softball fields. On one drawing, the backstops of the four fields were backed up to each other with space to walk between them.

In the other drawing, the four backstops were at the four corners of a square, with the outfields in the middle. That space could also accommodate a soccer field, he said. There would be a concrete pad in the center for a possible concession stand.

Sosalla also presented a list of estimated costs for each of the items on the school board’s "Wish List." The list includes: stadium seating with a press box at the track facility, $215,000; concession stand building, $300,000; locker room storage building, $900,000; seating at the baseball field with a roof, $75,000 or $37,500 with no roof; 5,000 square foot storage building, $150,000; fencing at the track concession area, $20,000; early childhood playground, $110,000; and field practice facility (no fieldhouse), large concrete slab, $1,400,000.

There were also cost estimates for two parking lots and walking paths for the athletic complex that totaled $574,000.

The total for all of the projects was estimated at $3,744,000.

Indihar pointed out that the softball fields could also be used for little league fields, if the measurements were right.

“This is the first time you have seen it,” Sosalla told the board. “Contact me if there are any questions.”

During a Facilities Committee meeting the next day, Indihar said there was another company that Peterson Companies, the company that installed the track and is working on the baseball field, recommended. He said he would contact that other company and ask for concepts and cost estimates.

Board member Jamie Jungers said he did not care for the location of a parking lot behind the school and a path to the softball complex that had been presented by ARI.

“It would be nice to have parking next to the fields,” he said.

There was discussion about the location of Moose Horn Drive, a proposed city street between Shopko and Kwik Trip. There was a question if a road to the parking lot by the softball complex could come off of that street. But it was agreed that street and road construction were very expensive.

There was also discussion about wetlands.

The location of the softball complex as presented by ARI did not interfere with wetlands to a great extent, it was said. But there could be some wetlands that could be affected.

“We definitely want a pond,” said Indihar.

Board Chair Steve Blondo said that Type One wetlands can only be replaced with Type One wetlands, not Type Three wetlands.

It was suggested that school board representatives and the superintendent meet with the city’s Park Board to talk about the city’s needs and the school’s plans. The city will be contacted about getting on the agenda for the next meeting.


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