Work on improved Hammer Complex begins

Published 8:27 pm Monday, November 5, 2018

Albert Lea school board discusses naming options


Albert Lea school board members Monday night discussed whether Hammer Complex would stay Hammer Complex after the athletic facilities are updated.

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“It’s going to be a new beginning out there, so is this a time we want to take and look at an opportunity to really rename the complex, if we do, and if so, what does that mean?“ Albert Lea Area Schools Superintendent Mike Funk said.

School board member Angie Hanson brought up the possibility of naming several components of the completed project — for instance, the football stadium and the softball complex.

“I think that would be more inclusive,” she said. “We could do more with that.”

The board also discussed potential for community donations to the project.

School board member Neal Skaar noted the district’s $24.615 million successful referendum for upgrades to Hammer Complex and Halverson Elementary School’s gym as well as installation of Albert Lea High School’s HVAC and completion of its swim lockers was enough money to fund the project, and therefore donations from community members would be intended to enhance the project.

“It’s always nice to have an opportunity to make something good a little better,” he said.

Klatt said this would provide donors the potential of name recognition.

The board suggested the district move forward with a meeting for community members interested in discussing naming potential for the new Hammer Complex and to bring feedback to the board.

Deputy Superintendent Lori Volz said the demolition project on Hammer’s current facilities has begun. Contractors Peterson Excavating are working on this portion of the complex update. Though work started, Volz said she doesn’t have exact dates of when big-ticket items, like knocking down the main stadium and the field house, will occur.

Some of the bleachers from the existing stadium could get a new life in the swimming pool, Funk said. The district is considering re-utilizing the stadium bleacher seats on the concrete steps at the swimming pool, where there are not currently benches. Funk said the cost would be minimal.

Bids for further portions of the facility updates are forthcoming. The general Hammer Complex contract bid target date is Dec. 6, while the target date for the Halverson Elementary School bid opening is Dec. 13. The district also had a bid opening Oct. 21 regarding the HVAC system and swim locker renovations at Albert Lea High School. Volz said results of the Oct. 21 bid opening will be brought to the school board Nov. 19, while the other two bids will be brought to the board at the Dec. 17 meeting.

About Sarah Kocher

Sarah covers education and arts and culture for the Tribune.

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