Crookston voters approve $4.9 million multi-sport athletic complex on second vote

According to results announced on Tuesday evening, the $4.9 million referendum passed with 58.9% "yes" votes.

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A photo of Crookston High School. Sydney Mook/Grand Forks Herald

CROOKSTON – Crookston voters gave an outdoor multi-sport athletic complex a second chance on Tuesday, Feb. 14, when they approved a ballot measure to fund the facility.

According to unofficial results, the $4.9 million referendum passed with 58.9% "yes" votes. The results were tallied as of 8:50 p.m. on Tuesday and showed the breakdown of the 1,716 ballots cast as 1,010 to 706.


“We are very appreciative of our district stakeholders, that they came to the polls and voted for something that I believe is going to be a benefit not only to the district but for the community,” said Dave Kuehn, interim superintendent of Crookston Public Schools.

The $4.9 million bond issue will pay for a new outdoor facility for football, track, soccer and softball games, sports practices and physical education classes. Planned for district land northeast of Crookston High School, the facility will include an artificial turf field, eight-lane track, press box, seating for 750, a concession stand and bathrooms.

It is the second time the school district has asked voters to approve the multi-sport athletic complex. In August 2022, the ballot measure for a $3.9 million facility failed by nine votes, 842 to 833. In total, 1,675 ballots were counted in that vote and the measure had 49.75% "yes" votes.


The School Board set the referendum amount for Tuesday’s vote higher than the first one to account for increased costs of materials and labor while keeping most of the facility’s features.

At present, Crookston High School does not have a track or football field of its own. It uses Ed Widseth Field at the University of Minnesota Crookston for home football games, but cannot host track meets at the venue because of the track’s deteriorating condition.

The School Board decided to pursue the facility because it cannot use state issued long-term facilities maintenance funds to repair a facility it does not own. Also, board members believe it will benefit the whole community.

Opponents of the ballot measure were critical of the district’s decision to ask taxpayers for more money when it has $15.7 million in outstanding debt from four previous referendums, information that was not shared by the district at multiple informational meetings leading up to the referendum. However, after questions were raised about the district’s outstanding debt, that information was added to meeting presentations.

Kuehn credits the second referendum election’s higher turnout to the work the district and supporters of the athletic facility put into sharing information. Leading up to the vote, informational meetings were held at the school and other locations in the community.

“People were informed,” he said. “We tried to do our very best with what I believe was a very transparent and informational campaign, sharing information and doing it in a respectful way and with integrity.”

The School Board will canvass the election results during a meeting on Wednesday, Feb. 15. Kuehn said construction on the athletic complex could start this spring or summer.

Crookston Proposed Multiuse Complex.jpg
A rendering by Zerr Berg Architects shows what a proposed outdoor, multi-sport athletic complex at Crookston High School could look like.
Contributed / Zerr Berg Architects

Ingrid Harbo joined the Grand Forks Herald in September 2021.

Harbo covers Grand Forks region news, and also writes about business in Grand Forks and the surrounding area.

Readers can reach Harbo at 701-780-1124 or Follow her on Twitter @ingridaharbo.
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