by Joni Astrup
Spectrum High School intends to turn its former school site in Elk River into an athletic complex.
Plans call for two multi-use fields as well as a softball field and a baseball field on the 39-acre site located at 10129 181st Ave.
Rick Peterson, Spectrum’s director of athletics and facilities, said the complex will serve not only the school but the entire community.
The fields will be used primarily by Spectrum for the school’s after-school athletic programs, including practices and games, according to Elk River Planning Manager Jeremy Barnhart. “The school may elect to allow additional parties, including the city and youth organizations, to use the complex, although no agreements are yet in place,” he wrote in a city memo.
Besides the fields, other improvements to the site will include landscaping, improving a parking lot and remodeling an existing storm shelter to include heat, restrooms and storage. Phase II of the project calls for lighting the main athletic field.
The Elk River City Council voted unanimously Monday, Nov. 19, to approve a conditional use permit for the project. Several conditions are tied to the permit including one requiring the field use to end by 10 p.m. Sunday-Thursday and 11 p.m. Friday and Saturday. Another condition prohibits parking along County Road 12 without county approval.
Ultimately a field house and a classroom building may also be added to the athletic complex. For that to move forward, the council would need to amend to the conditional use permit, Barnhart said.
Spectrum is a public charter school in its seventh year. It has an enrollment of 500 students in grades 6-12.
The school offers 14 varsity sports for boys and girls, according to Peterson.
“Having our own athletic fields will improve the efficiency of extracurricular activities and enhance the entire education experience for students. It will also add additional athletic and recreation resources to the city,” Peterson wrote in a project narrative.
The school had been located in modular units at what will now be the athletic complex before moving to the its present location at 17791 Industrial Circle, which is a business park south of Home Depot.
The athletic complex site is owned by C&P Properties of Elk River.
The new fields will be about a five-minute bus ride from the school, according to Peterson.