COTTONWOOD — A lengthy discussion regarding work on the Prairie Elementary School track took place at the Cottonwood Joint School District 242 (CJSD) school board meeting Monday, March 20. Teacher Ryan Hasselstrom presented a request for funding to complete the project, along with an update on issue at the site.

Hasselstrom asked CJSD school board members for $50,000 to surface and line the track.

“The whole facility has been unbelievable to be out practicing on it during the rainstorms, during the snow. There is no mud, kids can actually get out and do the things they need to do,” he said. “I know the timing of this is not great with the levy coming up in May. So, if we have to put this off I completely understand that.”

Hasselstrom said he has raised $113,000 to date toward a goal of $200,000. A payment of $45,000 is due in September to cover the installation, $10,000 is due next year to finalize payment. He said there is about $62,000 available in funds to cover those costs.

To complete the work required, another $80,000 to $82,000 is needed. Hasselstrom has a $10,000 commitment for this year, a summer fund-raiser planned and additional grant possibilities exist. He is hoping to raise $10,000 through the summer event.

“I want it done, I think the community wants it done,” he said.

Gus Hoene, board chair, brought up previous discussion that the district front the money and the track team continuing to fund-raise and repay the district. Hoene suggested the track team donate half of all proceeds until the amount is repaid. Other board members advised that would take a long time to repay.

“The time doesn’t bother me,” Hoene said. “Personally, I think if we front the money, and then just have an agreement that half of the proceeds from all track meets until it’s paid for or until such time as we decide to say otherwise.”

Board member Tara Rowland asked if the request should be tabled until after the levy was decided.

“It’s started, you’ve got the momentum,” Superintendent Rene Forsmann said. “You’ve got to finish the darn thing. How long do you wait?”

Hasselstrom offered to make annual payments to the board, up to $5,000 if needed.

“I do not want this to be a hindrance to the levy,” he said.

In the end, the board unanimously approved the $50,000 expenditure with the condition that half of all proceeds be returned to the district for an undetermined amount of time. Hasselstrom said work is expected to be completed by July 15.

Field house flooding needs resolution

Outside of the track request, Hasselstrom also advised the board of flooding at the field house. While no damage has occurred, he said it is an issue needing resolution.

With the recent rain and snow, water pooled outside the field house and seeped inside the structure.

“Matt Elven and I squeegeed it out, and there was probably a good two to two-and-a-half inches of water,” he said. “That’s about the fifth time this spring its flooded. Saturday night it was flooded again.”

Hasselstrom and other staff have sandbagged around the back door and tried to channel water away from the building. However, the moisture is seeping up through the foundation.

“I don’t know what the answer is … I know where it’s coming from, I just don’t know how to stop it,” he said.

Asked if this was a new issue since the track project, Hasselstrom advised the issue had occurred previously. He had tried resolving the issue before with landscaping without success.

“I promise you it’s not coming from the track,” he said.

Resolving the flooding issue was added to the facilities update for long-term planning. The next meeting is planned for 5:30 p.m. April 17 at Prairie Elementary School.

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