You can't skimp on school roofs, or ice systems in arenas, either.

Granted, different people possess different talents. If everyone was good at dunking a basketbal but nothing else, what kind of world would we live in? One with a lot of basketball hoops, obviously.

    So, given that, it might not seem entirely fair for a journalist to author an editorial that questions decisions made by the people who design things like high schools and hockey/skating arenas in northern Minnesota, a geographical location home to four distinct, and sometimes harsh seasons.

    It might be reasonable for Crookston High School, around 16 years after opening, to be in need of a new roof. But people who have spent a little bit of time in that building over the years will tell you that brown stains in the ceilings, the telltale signs of a leaky roof, have been observed for more than a few years.

    Why is that? Because, some roofing specialists told the Crookston School Board earlier this month, when the school was designed, the architects and engineers who led the effort sacrificed roof quality when it came to the need to stay within the budget. As a result, the single-ply roof has been battered and beaten by wind, heat, snow, ice and rain – not to mention the rocks placed on top of the roof material – and has a “priority one” need for replacement.

    Roofs may not be sexy and exciting, but they certainly are critical to the successful longevity of a structure. And if you’re going to design a building with a predominantly flat roof in northern Minnesota, wouldn’t you want to spend a little extra money when you construct the building, even if it comes at the expense of some fancier, sexier and more exciting amenities?

    And how about Crookston Sports Center? It’s an ice arena in northern Minnesota, and yet critical coolant that helps keep heat from getting under the ice and melting it is routed through pipes that go outside the building, and the coolant itself is only guaranteed to be functional to a temperature of zero degrees?

    As a result, during a stretch of cold weather that’s not at all unusual for January around these parts, the coolant starts to freeze up, the Event Arena ice melts, and a hockey game is postponed. “Ice melts in 20 below weather!” is sort of how the story spread from Crookston and outward, all the way to the national media, as if it was quirky and hilarious.

    This is just a layman’s point of view from the outside looking in. But wouldn’t everyone agree that a flat roof on a school is a critical component of the building, and that ice in an ice arena is no less important?