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

By Lois E. Johnson
Moose Lake Star-Gazette 

Barnum School Board talks RJM Park fixes


Improvements at the RJM Park, owned in partnership between the school and City, was the main topic of discussion at the working meeting of the Barnum School Board on Tuesday, June 4.

The concrete that holds the posts is pushing up out of the ground and drainage is a problem, it was said.

Athletic Director Dave Duesler explained that he had to use other fields, such as in Cloquet, for Barnum’s spring sports quite often because the Barnum field at the park was too wet.

“The clay soil pushes everything up, including the dugouts,” he said. “We reset the posts about 10 years ago but they need to be reset again.”

There was a discussion about the concession stand and restrooms.

Duesler said that Todd from the Rustic Diner provided the food for the concessions in recent years but that it was a lot of work to haul the food in and out before and after the games.

“It wouldn’t take much to fix that stand so we could have concessions,” he said. “We used to have bathrooms there too. There is water there. It wouldn’t take that much to get those going either.”

Board Member Jessica Unklehauser asked if panels with advertising could be hung on the fences to raise funds for the upkeep of the park.

“The businesses in Barnum are hit up so much for other things,” replied Duesler. “I don’t want to hit them up for this.”

But Board Member Pat Poirier supported the advertising idea.

“Don’t close the door on advertising on the fences,” he said.

There was also a discussion about providing netting to protect the spectators from being hit by balls. Poirier said that his daughter had been hit in the back of the neck by a ball.

“It wouldn’t take that much to protect the fans,” said Duesler. “There would have to be engineering to design the nets to cover everything up. Maybe the Minnesota School Board Association would have a list of what is required.”

Duesler said that Wayne Johnson, the son of Robert Johnson, whom the park was named in memory of, had some funds that could be contributed to maintenance of the park.

Poirier said that his company, Environmental Consulting and Testing, would match those funds, up to $5,000.

There had been an estimate of $60,000 for drain tile for the field, said Board Member Colleen Fetters. She asked if there were funds to cover that cost.

Superintendent Dave Bottom replied that improvements to the tennis courts had depleted that fund.

Security was also a problem, it was said.

Bottem reported that he will be meeting with representatives of the Barnum City Council the following Thursday to discuss renewing the contract with the City for the RJM Park.

Summer projects in the Barnum schools are underway, reported Bottem.

In the high school, carpets are going to be installed in two classrooms and on the temporary walls used in classrooms. The carpeting in the former board room and superintendent’s office is going to be replaced. A wall will be built between that office and the former board room to create a new superintendent’s office in the former board room, explained Bottem.

His office will be the new office of the business manager.

The board room has been moved to another space in the district office. New furniture for the new offices will be delivered after July 1.

Bottem said that the carpet will also be replaced in the high school office at no charge because there had been a flaw in the existing carpet.

Work to convert a space for a family bathroom was to begin the week of June 10, and there will be software upgrades in both the high school and elementary school. The dishwasher will be replaced in the elementary school on June 24. Installing the new equipment for the elementary playground will begin July 1, Bottem reported.

Six new garage doors will be installed in the bus garage after July 1. The new LED screen on the school sign by the high school will be changed over after July 1. The main sign will stay, just the screen will be changed, he said.

The working board meetings for July and August should be canceled, said Bottem. The new superintendent, Mike McNulty, starts on July 1, and the working board meeting would have been held the following day, he explained. He suggested that the August working board meeting also be canceled.

Action to cancel the meetings and other business will take place at the monthly board meeting on Tuesday, July 18.


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