Facility improvements passed for Mollberg Field; ready by September

There's never anything wrong with a bargain. The Detroit Lakes School District received just that Monday night after the DL school board voted unanimously to accept bids and start construction on a new restroom, concession and ticketing facility ...

There's never anything wrong with a bargain.

The Detroit Lakes School District received just that Monday night after the DL school board voted unanimously to accept bids and start construction on a new restroom, concession and ticketing facility at Mollberg Field.

The bids came in significantly lower than the estimated price of the improvements -- $92,419 lower, to be exact.

"This is a very good deal for the district," said District Business Manager Ted Heisserer. "These were much-needed facilities, at a fraction of the cost. The project wouldn't have happen until a ways down the road if not for the help from the community."

Kent Mollberg -- whose father Del's name graces the football facility -- spearheaded the final push to gain the funds for the improvements. It's been a project started some 20 years ago, in fact, and now will be reality by the time the first home kickoff comes in September.


"There's been different groups working on this for well over a decade now," Mollberg said. "My dad (Del) literally built the field, laid the sod and helped build the bleachers.

"It's great to see this work continued because of the help from the community."

The final push to raise funds for the restroom/ticket/concession stand project started two years ago in September with an all-football reunion.

Donations were solidified, along with several projects to raise monies such as the bleacher name plate sales.

Overall, there has been $30,000 raised from those cash donations.

"There's been almost 20 years of working on this project, it's been frustrating," said DL activities director Rick Manke, who also head coached the Laker football team from the late 1980s through the 1990s.

"You have to compliment Kent (Mollberg) and the community as a whole for taking the steps to making this project feasible," he added.

School district gains good deal


Of the $123,181 cost of the project, the School District is responsible for $75,000, which means the Mollberg Field Improvement Project Committee is on the line for $48,000.

It is basic knowledge that most school districts in the state are in a budget crunch -- including DL -- and cuts are prevalent.

But the $75,000 the DL School District is responsible for with the Mollberg Field project is not coming from the general fund, and will not affect the day-to-day operations of the school.

Instead, the money will be taken out of the capital fund, which is set aside for building projects.

"These facilities which will be constructed will last well beyond our lifetime, probably for the next 60 to 75 years," Mollberg said. "So, in essence, the district is basically paying $1,000 a year for a great facility.

"It's a good deal for the school."

A big reason the estimated cost of the facilities came nearly under $100,000, was the bids which were submitted.

These are largely looked at as donated services and materials from the businesses and contractors who bid on the project.


Take, for example, the roofing bids.

Herzog Roofing of Detroit Lakes (owned by Mike and Jodie Herzog) bid to construct the roofing for $1 -- obviously well under the $25,000 estimated before the bids.

The plumbing bid came in $20,000 under cost -- with Modern Heating and Plumbing of DL making the lowest bid -- while Malstrom Electric of DL came in nearly $4,000 under the estimated cost for electricity.

Another huge savings came when the City of DL Public Utilities department saved the project another $20,000 by stepping up to install the sewer and water services for no cost.

There were plenty of other businesses that stepped up to help defray the estimated cost and make the project possible, Mollberg added.

There still needs to be nearly $18,000 raised for the project, so donations of cash, services or materials are still being sought from all those who are willing -- but Mollberg is confident that deficit will be filled soon.

"I know it's out there, I'm confident we'll raise (the $18,000)," Mollberg added

Another main point to be made about the new facilities is it is not just for the improvement of football -- which attracts an average of 2,000 fans per home game.


"Other athletic programs will benefit, community civic groups will benefit and the Relay for Life (annual fund raiser) will benefit," Mollberg included.

"Hopefully we can host a wider variety of activities now," Manke said.

The Mollberg Project

With the current status of ticket, concession and restroom facilities well under par, the new project will infuse a new sense of pride for Mollberg Field.

All three services will now be housed in one building, which will be built in the northeast corner of Mollberg Field, adjacent to the current restrooms.

A new gate will be added, and now fans and people using the facility will be able to enter at both the east and west sides of the bleachers.

The building will be constructed of burnished block and will be 28-feet, 3-inches wide by 43 feet, 8 inches long.

The restrooms will now accommodate 12 users (six female and six male), while the old restrooms will be kept intact for overflow.


Adjacent to the building will be a 30-foot-by-40-foot concrete patio, which will include picnic tables. The long-term goal is to add a roof over the patio.

"Over 200 local citizens and businesses have stepped forward to support this project," Mollberg said. "It could not have happened without any of them."

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