by Bruce Strand, Sports editor
Home, sweet home — Spectrum finally has one for outdoor sports.
The Elk River charter school’s new outdoor sports athletic complex is nearing completion after a late start due to the long winter. The football and girls soccer teams were practicing on it Wednesday.
“In spite of the long winter and late start to plant,” said Rick Peterson, activities director, “we are pleased with how fast the grass has grown, especially on the second field.”
Spectrum, entering its eighth year, will be able to host its first two home games next week, Peterson said. Those will be girls soccer against Prairie Seeds at 4:15 p.m. Tuesday and football against St. James at 4 p.m. Friday.
The 18-acre site includes two adjacent football/soccer fields, and, on opposite corners, the baseball field (the outfield overlaps one of those fields) and softball field. The softball field is still being worked on. The others are virtually done, although the turf must be improved, as geese and deer have been snacking on the grass.
For track, a high-jump pit has been surfaced behind a goal post, and there’s a long-jumping pit aside the field. The track is dirt, and a regulation track is probably years away, but a movement is underway to raise funds and get volunteer help to put in better running surface for the time being.
The complex has housed boys and girls locker rooms and a trainers and coaches room.
These fields are located where the school’s temporary campus of modular buildings sat the first four years before the new school was finished in the industrial park near Wal-Mart. It’s about 1 1/2 miles from the school. The temporary classroom buildings are gone. The locker room building was formerly the school’s storm shelter.
There’s a large, empty space with mostly dirt next to the building. Peterson said a field house for indoor practices has been proposed for that area. Parking is sparse now but will be expanded. There are very small bleachers in place by the football and soccer main field.
Two scoreboards are already up, standing back to back, one for football and soccer, one for baseball.
Spectrum outdoor sports were played last year at various sites in and near Elk River. The school opened its gymnasium two years ago, so indoor sports already have a home base.