It's certainly not what anyone would call a "sexy" solution, but if some money can be spent to continue to patch cracks and fix other problems with the track and field complex at Ed Widseth Field on the U of M Crookston campus, to the point that it's determined that the track and field can once again serve as a venue for Pirate home meets, that's the best solution for now.
And if those continued, Band-Aid like fixes buy the track and field complex a couple more years (maybe a few?) of viability, then maybe that will provide enough time to work out a more comprehensive, long-term solution to this continuing problem.
Crookston School Board members, Superintendent Chris Bates, Activities Director Greg Garmen and boys' track coach Wayne Folkers discussed the matter at length a couple weeks ago, and some interesting things came up. Like, for instance, board member Patty Dillabough suggested the possibility of building a track and field complex on Crookston High School property and then, years later when maybe some additional financial resources are available, adding a football field.
Whether it’s digging up the current track and field and rebuilding it new or putting a new track and field complex at CHS, both are expensive propositions. We're likely talking seven-figure expensive. You don't just find that kind of money sitting around, you probably need voter approval to access that level of funding. And district voters indicated at the ballot box last year that they have no appetite for spending big bucks on a new track and football complex at the high school. They didn't want a second gym and some other things at CHS, either, and they thought the district's plans for a proposed new bus garage were too expensive.
Still, moving forward in the immediate future, if the district takes on a significant facilities project, it has to involve a new bus garage. The current facility is absurdly bad and far beyond any point in time when repairs or various upgrades would have made any real difference.
As far as track and field, if hosting Pirate meets once again is the primary and most immediate goal, then the simplest way to make that happen is to spend a little money on another round of repairs. It's not sexy and it's not even close to a long-term solution, but if it means the Pirates can once again host home meets at their actual home track, that's a worth improvement on the status quo.