Sports teams relocate after explosion makes field, gym inaccessible
Due to the tragic explosion that occurred at Minnehaha Academy during the summer, many sports facilities such as the gym and soccer field are no longer usable. The staff and administration, including athletic director Josh Thurow, have put in many extra hours helping to replace those facilities with alternative spaces.
The field and gym are currently unusable at North Campus and won’t be ready for sports games or practices for some time.
Athletic Director Josh Thurow said, “Glass, brick and debris from the explosion made it onto the grass and we will have to completely rip up all of the grass from the field and replace all of it to make it playable going forward.”
There is no specific time frame for when the field will be ready, but Thurow said, “I’m optimistic that next year we will be able to get back out on our field.”
Both soccer teams play the majority of their games at South Campus with the exception of a few games hosted at St. Thomas Academy, which is around a mile and a half away from the temporary Mendota Heights Campus. As far as practicing goes, the girls were at South Campus and Fort Snelling in Minneapolis for the most part and the boys were at Thresher Fields in Eagan.
Senior midfielder, Sara Bakke said, “We were very fortunate that both Fort Snelling and St. Thomas Academy allowed us to use their fields, but I am especially thankful that we were able to have most of our practices and games at South Campus.”
The girls tennis facility was unaffected because the tennis courts at North and South campus are still usable and in great shape. The swim team was also unaffected because of the co-op between Holy Angels. They practiced at a couple of different locations but nothing has changed due to the explosion. Cross country practice met at South Campus instead of North Campus and had meets at various locations. Due to the gym not being in use, the volleyball team was moved from North Campus to South Campus. This fall, volleyball practiced and played their games at South Campus.
The decision making for Athletic Director Thurow was fairly easy.
“South Campus was really helpful because it is easily attainable and we don’t have to pay for it,” said Thurow. “St. Thomas Academy makes sense location wise because it’s a mile and a half away from our new building and their willingness to help us out is also helpful.”
Lifetime Fitness donated new equipment for the weight room at the Mendota Heights Campus. “We owe a big debt of gratitude to Lifetime Fitness,” said Thurow. “We have a good relationship with their folks at the corporate office in Chanhassen. They donated all those materials and have also helped us out in the past before the explosion and have really been a good partner over the years. Also, all the weight room equipment at North Campus is still there and in perfect condition. It just would have been tough to drag the equipment out here. So that will be waiting for us there.”
Winter sports teams are going to have the biggest changes. The gym floor was flooded due to putting out the fire from the explosion and is obviously not usable for the upcoming season.
“Finding enough gym space for boys and girls basketball is going to be the tricky thing. Once again we will use South Campus a bunch for some practice time. Boys varsity will practice at St Thomas Academy and the Air Force Reserve Base. The girls will be at the Eagan Community Center and South Campus. Also, we currently have two double header boys and girls games at the Target Center in the works right now. We are also talking to our good friends at St. Thomas Academy, Williams Arena, Trinity School at River Ridge, Concordia St. Paul and many others have reached out and are willing to host us for games. We also are fortunate that the boys team is playing in so many neutral site showcase games that we don’t have a ton of home games for the boys this year,” said Thurow. “We will have to get creative but we have some good options ready.”