December Community Letter and statement on the school district's proposed complex
This year has flown by and we’re already into December. On campus we’re headed into finals, preparing for the winter break, and excited to have a glimpse at what the next calendar year will bring. Our first cohort of students for our NXT GEN AG program pilot have almost completed their first class and we are all learning about this new pathway. If you’re interested in advancing your education, please reach out to us.
It was so exciting to see the school buses looking for places to park, and the commons areas overflowing with students who were here for Agricultural and Natural Resources Activities Day (ANRAD) on Friday, December 2. It was the largest ANRAD group that we’ve had on campus in years. This day is an exploration opportunity for high school students. We also have very active programming that provides Science Technology Engineering and Math (STEM) activities for local K-12 students.
We have a number of events on campus in the next few weeks. Consider joining us for Holidays Around the World at our residence halls December 7, Little Shop of Horrors musical comedy at Kiehle Auditorium December 7-9, Annual Poinsettia Sale in the Sargeant Student Center Northern Lights Lounge December 7-9, Teddy Bear Toss December 9 during the Golden Eagles hockey game at the Crookston Sports Center, Jingle Jazz Concert at Kiehle Auditorium December 11, and home athletic events December 9, 10, 16, 17, and 31.
In the coming months there will be another vote regarding the Crookston School District’s proposed multi-use athletic complex. The school district recently asked us to provide a statement from UMN Crookston about the property our football field and track sit on which, as you likely know, is currently used by the district and some of its teams.
Earlier we indicated to the Crookston School Board that the University was not interested in selling the property and our position has not changed. Based on the guiding principles of the University’s policies for owning and selling real estate, as well as the infrastructure that has been built on, beneath and through the property, the land has both short-term and long-term strategic value to the Crookston campus and the University of Minnesota System.
The University recognizes the school district’s needs and financial limitations. We have explored several alternatives, in each case offering our commitment to provide the school district with affordable, long-term use of the property. Some of those alternatives included a 20-year lease with renewable leases up to 50 years. We also offered to remove the existing track, at the University’s full expense, if the school district wanted to construct a new one. The school district did not pursue any of those alternatives.
We have practical reasons to keep the property. We remain willing and open to any of the alternatives previously suggested, or to new proposals the district might have, that would allow each organization to achieve its respective goals.
How can we best work together as a community? Collaboration enhances capacity and partnerships can build stronger healthier communities. UMN Crookston is always willing to collaborate with the community. We have many notable partnerships that we’re proud of including the longstanding relationship with the school district for the use of our property which we have continued the upkeep on and are always willing to do more.
We hope you think of UMN Crookston when it comes to a place for world-class hands-on education, professional art and musical productions, exhilarating sporting events, and fun family-friendly activities.
Happy holidays to you and yours.
Chancellor Mary Holz-Clause