Who is Gordon Campbell?
Final Design: Click on design for larger image.
Gordon Campbell Memorial Athletic Complex
Groundbreaking Ceremony takes place in Bigfork
Click on picture for larger image
Groundbreakers: l-r Scott Patrow, Bigfork Principal; Zac Lovdahl, track athlete; Ann McGarry, project co-director; Lloyd Kongsjord, contractor.
(Excerpts from the Sept. 18 article in the Western Itasca Review)
by Louise H. McGregor, staff writer)
The groundbreaking ceremony for the Gordon Campbell Memorial Athletic Complex took place on site at the north side of Bigfork School on Sept. 10.
This occasion came about as a result of about six years of fundraising efforts by many individuals who all worked for two common goals: to provide students with a safe place to get in practice for track meets and to honor the memory of Campbell, who was a Bigfork High School junior in 1948 when he won the state high school mile record for seven years. Campbell died in 1998.
Bigfork Alumni Committee Chairman Irl Sinclair served as emcee, delivered a welcome to the guests and introduced the other speakers who were Floyd Hennagir, Independent School District 318 Superintendent Joe Silko and Bigfork High School track athlete Nicole Korstad.
Each in turn gave kudos to all of the individuals, businesses and organizations who contributed and/or participated in some way to bring this project to a reality, especially the 'Gang of Six.'
That alumni group consisted of Sinclair, Joan Lester, Bonnie Cole, Ann McGarry, Virginia Wass and Norane Stejskal. They were the driving force that organized fundraising campaigns such as the Whatever-a-thon, Buy-A-Meter, and "Grabbing the Gold" which kept the project on track.
The complex will provide students with a four-lane oval track with a three-lane straight-away. This ag-lime runway practice track will also have practice areas for shot put, discus and long, triple and high jumps. The cost for it is estimated at $150,000 by Short Elliot Hendrickson Inc. engineer Julie Kennedy. She said, "It is not a full track, but it is almost 400 meters.
...Lloyd Kongsjord of RK Construction took part in the groundbreaking ceremony. This company is the contractor for the project. Kennedy said...The project will be essentially completed this fall with some final touches done in the spring such as landscaping."
Silko said, "This project is a real demonstration of vision, energy and drive developing a true partnership between the community, businesses, organizations, the school district, the school and the students.
"It has all been done for the students and it is they who will continue on with what has been accomplished. They have seen what the adults did and will take that forward."
Approximately 40 percent of the students at Bigfork School take part in the track program. One of these students is Nicole Korstad. She said "I love to run, but it has always been difficult to practice. The gym is too small and if I get to running full force I would end up running into the wall. Running on the streets and roads of Bigfork has been getting more difficult as there is getting to be a lot more traffic in this area. I am very grateful that there will be a safe practice area for us to run on."
Usually at least one Bigfork student has been able to participate in the state track meets on a yearly basis. Hennagir said, "That is a heritage of the students in Bigfork School.
(Excerpts from the Sept. 14 article in the Grand Rapids Herald Review)
by Marie Nitke)
They've jumped over one hurdle after the next, and sometimes felt like they were running in circles, but all their efforts have finally paid off - the Bigfork School Alumni Committee and other planning partners have finally crossed the finish line of a six-year-long challenge to raise money for a new track and field sports complex.
....Though the school's track and field program has a history of success, Jerry Kaczor, long-time coach and physical education teacher, said the new complex "can't do anything but help. It should enhance the program. We haven't missed many years in sending an athlete to state...but now our numbers will likely get better. Now I can do more in track and field in phys ed classes at the elementary level, which should help build interest in the sport. I'm really excited about what the final project looks like."
Joan Lester, an alumni committee member who has been heavily involved in the fundraising and planning process from the start, through all its ups-and-downs, was ecstatic to see the project finally near completion. "It looks like my feet are on the ground right now," she said with a smile, "but they aren't!"
The complex's namesake, Gordon Campbell, was a Bigfork School student and track athlete who held the record for fastest state high school meet mile (at 4 minutes, 30.06 seconds) for seven years.
"Gordy is smiling down on us today," said Floyd Hennagir, a former alumni committee member and teammate of Campbell's, at the groundbreaking ceremony. "I think he'd be really happy. I'm really proud to be here today."
In a telephone interview after the ceremony, Campbell's wife, Mercedies, thanked the people of Bigfork and the surrounding area, especially the high school alumni, "for working so hard all these years to raise the money so this could happen. We're looking forward to seeing the Gordon Campbell Athletic Complex up and going. It's a thrill. He would be so honored. He took pride in himself and his accomplishments over the years, so I feel he knows what's being done for him."
(Excerpts from the October issue of Watts News) a North Itasca Electric Cooperative publication
by Amanda Nesheim)
Community. That's what the new Gordon Campbell Memorial Athletic Complex is all about.
Six years ago the need for a track and field complex for the Bigfork High School became apparent. An idea grew into a dream which then grew into a full fledged concept that the Bigfork community was able to make a reality....
Donations were received from many sources: over 400 individuals and families, including alumni, both local and from across the country, made contributions. Others donated through attendance at fund raising events. Major matching grants came from Bigfork Valley (Hospital, Clinics and Communities), MN Power, and anonymous donors....
l-r Committee Members Norane Stejskal, Virginia Wass, Irl Sinclair
The background shows a portion of the track under construction, October 2008.
l-r Committee Members Ann McGarry, Joan Lester, Sandy Anselmo, Bonnie Cole.The background shows a portion of the ball diamond and high jump areas under construction, October 2008.
BUY‑A‑METER CAMPAIGN IS HUGE SUCCESS
Thank you, Bigfork Valley!
The track portion of the Athletic Complex Project is now funded! Again, our deep gratitude to all the individuals, organizations, businesses, and foundations who bought meters, and to Bigfork Valley Hospital, Clinics and Communities for their generous matching funds totaling $38,050.00.
Presentation of the Challenge Match from Bigfork Valley Hospital, Clinics, and Communities
L-R: Alumni Board Member Bonnie Cole, Director of Finance Karen Campbell, Alumni Board Member Ann McGarry, Alumni Chair Irl Sinclair, CEO Dan Odegaard, Principal Scott Patrow, Athletes Karla Pula and Nicolle Worcester
To read a list of all donors to the Buy-a-Meter campaign, go to the Events Section of this web page.