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Blackduck High School to begin work on football tower in May

A project that will benefit fans of the Blackduck football team, the team itself, and those working and volunteering at games will be underway this summer.

The idea to build a new football tower was brought up at a Blackduck School Board meeting in the fall of 2013. According to activities director Andra Vaughn, an open discussion was had with the board, people in the audience and Murl Nord, who has volunteered to help with the project.

The result of the discussion was to create a new, larger tower on the opposite side of the field and for it to have restroom and concession capabilities.

“We needed to move the tower to the other side of the field because right now, where it sits, the sun beats right into the tower and it does make it very difficult to see,” Vaughn said.

The existing tower has a number of other inefficiencies. Vaughn said that the media booth is only a little bigger than her desk and occasionally has to hold up to eight people.

She said that it’s not uncommon to have two people from the media and the booth also has to hold an announcer, scorekeeper and each team likes to have one or two people keeping stats and running plays.

“You’re just like sardines in this real little, little area,” Vaughn said. “And the stairs themselves are interesting.”

Vaughn also mentioned that people in the media booth cannot see both ends of the field from inside and typically have to stick their heads out of a window to see plays in the end zones.

The bus garage was previously being used to house the concessions and also for restrooms. They have a one-stall women’s and one-stall men’s restrooms.

“They’re gracious enough to let us use it all these years, but we’ve really outgrown it,” Vaughn said. “There’s a whole lot of issues with the existing tower there’s no doubt about it.”

Northwoods Lumber drew up the initial design for the new tower and after a few edits it was directed to Lucachick Architecture, Inc., who has donated all of their time for the project. “They’ve been very great and very diligent,” Vaughn said.

The new tower will be a 12-by-36 foot structure with a larger concession area and two-stall bathrooms with baby changing stations included. The new space will also have a small amount of storage space for items that can be weathered.

The bathrooms are the only areas that will be heated. Vaughn said that the building will be insulated so they hope that concessions will generate enough heat for that space and that it will also reach upstairs in the media booth.

What’s the cost?

Cost of materials for the project is $28,197. Vaughn wrote a grant to the Blandin Foundation and was donated $3,000. The football boosters have donated $2,000. The school district has also donated a few thousand dollars, according to Vaughn.

The junior class, who runs the concessions, has donated as well as the Class of 2014.

With those donations, just over $11,000 has been raised. “So we’re well on our way,” Vaughn said.

The construction for the project has also been donated by JD Construction. Vaughn said that Jim Krabbenhoft will coordinate and oversee the project.

“We couldn’t do it without JD Construction donating their time and we couldn’t do it without Daryl Lundberg and Northwoods Lumber because he has agreed to contact vendors and donate materials,” Vaughn said.

The school hopes to break ground on the project during the last week of May so the students can attend and finish before the football season begins in August. A few small tasks still need to be taken care of including a power pole that will need to be moved. Vaughn said that Nord is in charge of that.

A Drake Athletic Fund exists through the Northwest Minnesota Foundation and more specifically there is a football tower project fund. Donations can be made online at or can be mailed to the Northwest Minnesota Foundation at 201 3rd St. NW, Bemidji MN 56601.

A letter campaign will also be sent out within the comings weeks. Vaughn said that they hope to at least match the current donations, but would obviously like to raise the whole amount.

“We couldn’t do it without the whole community coming together to help,” Vaughn said.

Jillian Gandsey

Jillian Gandsey is the Multimedia Editor at the Bemidji Pioneer. She is an Iron Range native and a 2013 graduate of Bemidji State University. Follow Jillian on Twitter and Instagram @jilliangandsey. Contact her at 218-333-9786, 218-996-1216 or at 

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