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

By Lois E Johnson
Moose Lake Star-Gazette 

School board considers design for athletic complex


August 16, 2018

The Moose Lake School Board heard three presentations from companies that could assist the school district with the proposed referendum, planning and design of the remainder of the athletic complex.

The track, football practice area inside of the track and the baseball field have been completed in the first phase of the athletic complex but the school board has stated in the past that they want to have the remainder of the complex completed.

To complete the complex, the plans are to build a concession stand for ticket and concession sales, restrooms and storage, build a parking lot south of the existing parking lot for overflow and for parking at games, build grandstands by the track and baseball fields, and build a fourplex of ball fields behind the school for practices. The city has proposed that it could pay for one field that would replace the existing little league field behind the old school.

A playground for Early Childhood is also part of the project.

Jim Wilson of Wendel and Eric Meyer of Larson Engineering were the first to present their proposal.

They told of a past project in Esko and other projects that the firms had designed.

Needs, wants and costs were discussed.

“It’s what you can afford versus what everybody wants,” said Meyer. “Here’s what we need; here’s what we can afford. Make sure that everyone gets something. That makes everyone happy.”

Community input sessions were valuable in giving ideas to the designers, said Wilson, as was input from the athletic department, coaches, and the physical education department.

Meyer and Wilson said that they had worked with other schools where there is an athletic cooperative similar to the Moose Lake-Willow River cooperative.

They also spoke about the project delivery: design, bid and build.

“We can break the portions of the project up into multiple bid packages,” said Wilson. “We can bring in an owner’s representative or construction manager. We can get it done in one year and then allow time for the grass to get established.”

The second firm was ICS and Rapp Strategies.

Jeff Schiltz of ICS told of multiple projects in the area that they had been involved in.

“I’ve been working with school referendum projects for 17 years,” said Rapp. “I get brought in when it seems to be a complicated strategy. I’ve done a lot of referendum campaigns in my life.”

Schiltz explained that they do not represent any company or product. They are project managers, not architects or contractors. They are consultants.

“We’ve got some great ideas for you,” he added. “We can help you determine the right priorities. We manage the design and are construction managers and the owner’s advocate.”

Schiltz explained that the project is broken into smaller projects to allow for more local contractors to get involved.

They had experience in working with schools in athletic cooperatives.

“We always do listening sessions with the students, parents, staff and the community,” said Schiltz.

Three representatives of ISG were the last to present their proposal.

Andy Brandel explained he was the expert for athletic fields and turf.

Amanda Prosser worked with landscapes, and Rod Schumacher had a background in assisting school districts to meet health and safety regulations.

Brandel explained that theirs is a big firm and the designers are a part of the company.

“We are a multi-disciplinary firm,” he said. “We have the capabilities in house for all of the portions of the project. We look at our clients as our partners. We look at other partnerships, such as with Peterson Companies, and see if it is a good fit. For us to be successful and for you to be successful, it needs to be a good fit.”

(Peterson Companies is the current contractor for the athletic fields.)

The portions of the project were discussed.

“We partner with you,” said Brandel. “We review the lists of wants and needs and provide a list of building options. We are not done when the project ends. You can call us when there is a problem.”

The community will also be consulted about what it wants to see in the complex, it was said.

“We need to ask the kids and the parents,” said Prosser. “Just a few small tweaks can make a difference. We’ve worked with playgrounds. We can work with you on that part of the project.”

“We hire a construction manager or general contractor,” said Schumacher. “We do the design. There will be an on-site project manager.”

Brandel explained that they have broken up projects of this size but felt it would be best to have just one contractor.

No decision was made by the board.


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