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Pequot Lakes School: New sports complex discussed at board work session

In their monthly work session, Pequot Lakes School Board members had company for preliminary discussion to add recreational space in the city for school use.

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In their monthly work session, Pequot Lakes School Board members had company for preliminary discussion to add recreational space in the city for school use.

The board met with Jon Lubke, Jenkins mayor and Pequot Lakes Economic Development Committee member; Randy Loukota, Pequot Lakes City Council member; Nancy Malecha, Pequot Lakes city administrator; and two representatives from Widseth Smith Nolting engineering firm to discuss the best uses for an 85-acre plot of city-owned land on the south end of town between State Highway 371 and Patriot Avenue.

Much of the land is currently used as a corn field. Preliminary discussions have begun regarding making a portion of that land a recreational space with baseball and softball fields, which the school district would use.

"We (currently) have no space to add a soccer field," Superintendent Chris Lindholm said of outdoor space at the school. "I would argue we are short of space for our phy. ed. department. Pretty much everything out there has been built into a stadium, a varsity field or a tennis court. There is no good green space for pick-up games of soccer or Capture the Flag. There is also a shortage of parking back there.

"The land (being talked about) is already publicly owned. Maybe there is a way for land already publicly owned to partner and have a win-win where we satisfy both an economic development need for the community and a school district need for recreational space," he said.

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Questions arose among board members regarding the cost of such a potential project, but Lindholm and WSN representatives indicted that discussions have not been occurring for long, and a potential budget has not been discussed. Tim Houle, of WSN, said construction of three baseball and softball fields - depending on variables in construction and materials - could exceed $1 million.

There is currently no plan to discuss this topic at a future regular school board meeting.

The board also discussed a potential update to the high school commons area in their Monday, April 2, work session.

Lindholm presented to the board a few "extremely conceptual" ideas for remodeling the commons area near the auditorium, which would feature newly painted walls, booth- and high counter-seating, and a space on the wall to eventually be a place reserved for honoring donors to the district, as well as a space for a proposed "digital yearbook."

Like the recreational space discussion, there is no plan currently in place to bring this discussion to the board in a regular meeting.

Dan Determan has been a reporter for the Echo Journal since 2014, primarily covering sports at Pequot Lakes and Pine River-Backus
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