Park Rapids High auditorium upgrades get school board approval – Park Rapids Enterprise

The Park Rapids School Board on Tuesday, Feb. 20 approved design development on upgrades to the high school auditorium and authorized project engineers to proceed with the construction documents phase of the project.

Project Manager Jason Maaninga with ICS said $1 million was budgeted for auditorium improvements.

Based on input from user groups, he said, the scope of the project emphasizes theatrical lighting, rigging and audio-visual equipment.

Maaninga presented a lighting design blending recessed downlights, linear track lights and strip lights. New rigging will include seven new curtains, masking curtains to close off backstage areas on both sides of the stage, rods for the theatrical lighting and a new projection screen.

His slide detailing audio-visual components lists a variety of speakers, microphones, projectors, controls, outlets, a wireless access point and and wiring conduits.

Maaninga noted the screen will stretch across one-third of the width of the stage.

Superintendent Lance Bagstad said he was impressed with all the equipment that will be installed in the control booth, and he assured the school board that the user group – including theater and music teachers – “know their stuff.”

Assuming board approval of the design development, Maaninga said he anticipates seeking board approval of construction documents on March 18, putting the project out for bids to be opened April 9, awarding contracts April 22, commencing construction on June 3 and completing the project by fall.

Engineering cost estimates came in under the $1 million budget, he said, including $564,000 for theater equipment, $275,000 for audio-visual equipment, $71,150 for electrical work and $79,400 for subconsultant fees, totaling $989,550.

The school board voted 5-0, absent Clayton Hoyt, to approve the design development.

PowerPoint Presentation

Design development for updating the Park Rapids Area High School auditorium focuses on audio/visual and lighting improvements, shown in this elevation drawing. The school board gave the nod Tuesday, Feb. 20, to proceed with construction documents.

Contributed / ICS, Park Rapids Area Schools

The school board approved the spring coaches’ list by a 3-1 vote, with board member Andrea Morgan recusing herself, absent Clayton Hoyt and with Colter Diekmann opposed.

Diekmann declined to state a reason for his “nay” vote.

The list includes the following coaches:

  • Baseball: head coach Kevin Murphy, assistant coaches Wyatt Sanford and Jeb Sanford, volunteer assistant Jesse Bucholz, middle school coaches Brian Johnson and Bob Kapsner and volunteer assistant Stephen Funk. 
  • Boys golf: head coach Jeff Anderson, junior high coaches Morgan Marcussen and Tom Marcussen and volunteer assistant Greg Kuehn. 
  • Girls golf: head coach Brent Vandal, junior high coach Walt Harrison and volunteer assistant Jacob Hutchins. 
  • Softball: head coach Marion Goeden, assistant coaches Kevin Cederstrom, Ken Tretbar and Ken Bynum, middle school coaches Ashley Hensel and Laura Henderson, and volunteer Annie Nuthack. 
  • Boys track: head coach Andrew Lachowitzer, assistant coaches Chad Harshman and Mike Hartung, middle school assistant coach Joe Morgan and volunteer assistants Kent Fritze and Jake Deblieck. 
  • Girls track: head coach Corey Hill, assistant coach Tarja Nelsen and middle school assistant coach Paige Rockensock.

Consent items and general business

Over Diekmann’s dissent, the school board also passed a consent agenda, including approval of out-of-state travel for the Esports team to participate in the state tournament Thursday, Feb. 22 in Grand Forks, N.D., a lease agreement with the Up North Learning Center in Walker, and payments presented for February, totaling $7,636,220.

Diekmann also declined to explain this “nay” vote.

In other business, the school board:

  • Terminated a school district employee, later identified as Indian Education paraprofessional Carmen Arellano, for performance reasons, according to Bagstad.
  • Approved the American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees union contract for 2023-25.
  • Approved revisions to the 2024-25 school calendar previously approved on Jan. 22. Bagstad explained the revisions, including moving a November vacation for deer hunting (and Veterans’ Day) to the following week and moving the elementary conferences from April to March. 
  • Approved the 2025-26 school calendar. According to this schedule, school will start Tuesday, Sept. 2, 2025 and end Friday, May 22, 2026, with a total of 168 student days; no-school days Oct. 16-17, Nov. 26-28, Dec. 24-Jan. 2, Jan. 19, Feb. 16 and 27, March 16 and April 3, 6 and 20; and graduation on Sunday, May 24.
  • Received an enrollment review, showing that K-12 enrollment declined by four students from 1,523 to 1,519 between Jan. 17 and Feb. 15, a difference of less than 0.3%. Meanwhile, total district enrollment dipped by the same number, from 1,658 to 1,654, or about 0.2%. 
  • Acknowledged donations to the school district, including three electric hospital beds from CHI St. Joseph’s Health Hospice Care to the high school’s certified nursing assistant (CNA) program and $1,000 from Terri & Royce Schultz for the Carol Oxtra-Shaum scholarship.

The school board’s next meeting is scheduled for 6 p.m. Monday, March 4 in the “aquarium” at the Park Rapids Area High School media center.

Robin Fish is a staff reporter at the Park Rapids Enterprise. Contact him at rfish@parkrapidsenterprise.com or 218-252-3053.


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