School district to pursue a long-term home for Pirate football, track to call its own

Jess Bengtson
Crookston Times

    Crookston School District’s Long Range Planning Committee is recommending the district consider its options after concerns were brought up with the proposed 20-year agreement with the University of Minnesota Crookston for the use of Ed Widseth football field and facility.

    The committee, which consists of School Board members Frank Fee, Tim Dufault and Mike Theis, had two concerns, Superintendent Jeremy Olson told the Times, which include a requirement to put in a new track within four years, which could cost $400,000 or more, plus any improvement over $5,000 would need approval from the University of Minnesota. Also, any signage additions or changes would have to get approval.

    “We certainly enjoy our relationship with UMC, but moving forward that (the proposal) is not something the committee would entertain,” Olson explained. “It’s not that we don’t want to work with the University, but there are some items on the proposal that are game-stoppers.”

    Olson said he has sent informal communication about the agreement concerns to UMN Crookston Chancellor Mary Holz-Clause and there will be more formal communication coming. When asked if this decision means a referendum could be pursued, he said he wants to hear from the upcoming newly-formed committee and the community first while being “cognizant” of the taxpayer.


    Olson announced at this week’s School Board meeting that a football/track/facility committee meeting is scheduled for March 10 and he told the Times that the committee is still being formed.

    “We’ve had people that have called us up to express their interest in the committee and we’re also in the process of reaching out to others after talking to board members and staff to gain interest and perspective,” Olson explained. “What is a good representation of our community and who might even be spectacle of this project?”

    Olson said there is no timeline and he’s unsure of what the community wants at this point, but the district has some “guesses and thoughts.”

    “You could do something that’s bare-bones basic and do something that’s incredibly fancy; We need to better understand where we want this project to end up,” he added. “It’s not up to Jeremy Olson.”

    “Of course everyone wants the best thing in the world, but what do we truly want as a community?” Olson wondered.

Crookston Pirates and Minnesota Crookston Golden Eagles