By Michelle Bruch
» The Heritage Preservation Commission (HPC) unanimously denied DeLaSalle High School’s application last week for a new athletic field behind the school.
DeLaSalle officials plan to appeal the decision.
HPC Chair Phillip Koski said the major issues of contention related to the stadium design and the closure of the eastern half of Grove Street.
“By losing Grove Street, we concluded that would adversely alter the character of the historic district,” Koski said. Grove Street became a public street in 1866 connecting East Island Avenue and West Island Avenue.
The stadium’s bleachers, ticket booth and press box include stucco, a material the HPC has previously denied on several occasions, Koski said. Historic districts allow brick, stone and concretematerials.
Heights of some stadium elements were also out of scale with the district, according to the HPC, specifically lighting masts and a retaining wall standing up to 9 feet in some areas.
DeLaSalle President Michael Collins noted that DeLaSalle High School was founded on Nicollet Island in 1900, and said the high school will continue to be part of the island’s history.
“I respect, and I’m hardly surprised, that a group that is stationed to preserve history as they see it, voted as they did,” Collins said. “We are an institution that has been part of Nicollet Island longer than anyone there has been alive. … I believe that thoughtful leadership is going to say that while history has value looking backward, history looking forward has overriding merit because we’re not simply talking about part of a street, but part of the lives of young people.”
Some residents at the meeting reportedly said DeLaSalle did not sufficiently explore alternative sites, while DeLaSalle officials have said they explored other options and found them untenable.
The proposal would add a regulation size football field for shared use by DeLaSalle and the Minneapolis Park and Recreation Board. The football field would also provide one regulation size soccer field and three junior soccer fields, bleacher seating for up to 750 spectators, a press box that sits on top of the bleachers, a concessions area within the bleacher base and four light towers.
DeLaSalle’s proposal will be the topic of discussion during the next Breakfast with Preservationists on Aug. 30 at 8 a.m. in the Mill City Museum. Speakers will include a DeLaSalle representative, Koski and preservationist Bob Roscoe.
For more information on DeLaSalle High School’s proposal for a new athletic field and the Aug. 8 HPC hearing, go to www.ci.minneapolis.mn.us/cped/Agendas/hpc/. «
Link to original article on the Downtown Journal website.