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New stadium has many more local connections than its location Rachel Jamieson rjamieson@havredailynews.com The people who worked to make Montana State University-Northern’s new football stadium a reality have more connecting them to the project and the university than the work they did on the stadium. “We’re very proud to be able to be part of such a big project in our community and to be able to help the college get such a facility,” Clausen and Sons President Autumn Lineweaver said. “It is very exciting for everyone and hopefully benefit the community as a whole, first at the college and brings more people to the school and to our community, just overall economically being a very positive thing for our town and our area.” Lineweaver said Clausen and Sons is the general contractor for the stadium project. Montana State University-Northern Chancellor Greg Kegel has been talking for several years of building an athletic complex at Northern including the university’s own football stadium for its team, the Northern Lights. Last year the project officially got underway with fundraising starting last fall and the work starting in March. The stadium is complete, although its initial use is delayed, with the conference postponing football due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Much of the work done to build the stadium is by people with connections to Havre and to Northern itself. Havre Daily News/Colin Thompson That includes the money donated to build The press box sits atop the bleachers at the stadium, with people chipping in to add Montana State University-Northern’s new to Northern’s infrastructure. stadium. “Our stadium is a project that I started a Shantel Cronk said starting in her role a litnumber of years ago and I came right out in tle over a year she has not not worked on articles and said this isn’t about football this this project. is about building sustainability on this campus, this about protecting Northern to ensure “It’s really been a labor of love, not only with the university but with that this little campus is the community,” she said. vibrant and contributing to “Almost all of our funds, this region in the state of close to 95 percent of our Montana,” Kegel said. “... funds, have been from It’s going to be a huge small private people in the recruiting, huge retention area, and being one of piece for that student life those people from the area component that is on our that grew up here it’s realcampus.” ly, really beautiful to see Most of the money people come together and donated for the stadium has build something, and been from local people and evolve something.” businesses along the She is a fourth generation Hi-Line. Montanan, she said, and He said the stadium is her mother is a graduate of more beautiful because it is Northern as well as her Greg Kegel being built with local grandmother, who hapMontana State University-Northern money. pened to be part of the first chancellor “And people that saw class of the university in that, the vision, agreed it is 1929, she added. the right thing to do and the community “At that time, they didn’t even have a needs it, and we did it,” Kegel said. “To me, campus, so I think she would just be thrilled that’s the big part, that’s the most special to see what we are doing to Northern and part about it is how many people got behind how we’ve evolved it in the 90 years,” Cronk it and let’s get this thing done, and we did said. “It’s quite exciting for me, especially it.” when you think about this is a small town, so And the people working on the stadium this town is very fortunate to have a univerare often local people. sity in its backyard and I think it’s taken for Montana State University-Northern granted from time to time, but there’s generAlumni Foundation Executive Director ations of students that go here.”

And people that saw that, the vision, agreed it is the right thing to do and the community needs it, and we did it

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of dollars for new equipment in order to do that, from sound equipment to cameras, different platforms of delivery and more. “We’ve also had teams working on, what I call spinning up faculty, so that they’re ready to go and they’ve been doing workshops with our faculty all through the summer,” he said. “Teaching them how to use the equipment and making sure that their coursework is brought up so that it is organized and structured for the 13 weeks of instruction this fall, so it’s been monumental in what we’ve been doing.” The fall semester began Monday, Aug. 31, and runs through Tuesday, Dec. 8. Face-to-face instruction courses will be offered through Tuesday, Nov. 24. After Thanksgiving, students will not be returning to campus and their courses will be accessed through alternate delivery methods. Finals will also be accessed through alternative delivery methods between Wednesday, Dec. 2, and Tuesday, Dec. 8. Kegel said he is asking the students to minimize travel as much as they can. “If you don’t have to go home this weekend, don’t go home. If you don’t have to leave the state of Montana, don’t leave the state of Montana,” he said. “All of that will help contain what we’ve got, which right now is a very safe atmosphere. We’ve been running all summer in Hill County with very low numbers and we want to keep the numbers as low as we can.” He is optimistic about that, he said. He said the school will be performing some type of sentinel testing. Havre Daily News.Coin Thompson Every day more and more rapid-testing Some Montana State University-Northern students sit on the university’s quad Aug. 29 during during new student orientation. ideas are coming about, he said. “We’re asking the students to do a lot of we’re promoting a safe-as-we-can environself-diagnosing, so that if they feel funny, ment as quality-as-usual-environment, we’re have any of the symptoms of COVID that going to have to deliver,” Kegel said. “That they let us know and we work with them that was one of the reasons we spent all summer way or maybe test them because of it.” ramping up everything to make sure that we He added that he was encouraged in all are totally ready to go both the communities he went to safety-wise and qualityof how many have wise. embraced the fact that “COVID has been a everyone wears a mask, challenge — it has chaldoes their distancing. lenged me as the leader of “I’m bringing that whole this institution in a lot of thing back to Northern, I’m different ways, and it’s nice hoping that’s the way we to have challenges, it’s nice go forward and I’m very to be able to embrace and much optimistic that we do the best that you can are going to have a good under those circumstances, fall,” he said. but this is a different one,” COVID-19 hit Montana he added. “It’s a complicatright around spring break ed one that has been polititime at Northern this year. cized too much. It’s deadly, Kegel said he’s pretty we know it’s deadly. All of confident that Northern this intertwined, we want to handled it as well as any do the right thing always.” institution in the state, if Now with COVID-19, he not better. is worried about things that He has heard zero comhe thought he would never Greg Kegel plaints from the students, have to worry about, he Montana State University-Northern he said, but he came back said. chancellor “We’re going to make and said that was a differevery decision based on ent time. what’s best with the conference with all of It was kind of like a surprise attack, the teams that play in the conference for all nobody knew what COVID was, what kind of of us and I’m going to make decisions that effect it was going to have on the campus and society, he said. are best for our students and for our faculty “There’s probably a little bit of grace in and staff,” Kegel said. “It’s been different. that with our instruction and now when It’s been hard.”

If you don’t have to go home this weekend, don’t go home. If you don’t have to leave the state of Montana, don’t leave the state of Montana


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Northern students back on the campus Rachel Jamieson rjamieson@havredailynews.com

Editor’s note: A version of this ran in an August edition of the Havre Daily News. Montana State University-Northern has returned for the new school year, trying to be as normal as possible but with many changes as it deals with the COVID-19 pandemic. “We’ve decided that we’re opening the campus,” Chancellor Greg Kegel said last

month. “We’ve decided to go everything face-to-face as normal, but the normal as part to include as much as we can in distancing, trafficking, meaning to spread the students across the campus as much as we can to minimize as much overload as we can in a classroom.” He said in order to do that, the school had to do a complete evaluation of all of the campus's space. A team went in this summer, he said, went into each classroom and looked at its

designated occupancy load, and then looked at what the load would be with the distancing standing that that school wants to establish for safety. This evaluation has been done in every single room on every floor in every building, he said. “We’re scheduling those kids in those rooms to those levels,” Kegel added. “We’re providing all the sanitation stuff that they need, meaning the spaces will be clean before and after each day, the sanitation sta-

tions will be available for any person that wants to sanitize. We are requiring that face masks are used in our facilities — either mask or shield.” He said the campus is trying to bring back as much face-to-face as it can as normal. An option of things being able to be broadcast live will be available to a participant who cannot make the class for whatever reason, he said.  He said the school has invested thousands

Game changer: Kegel: 'It’s completely changing our campus' ■ Continued from page 5 And yet, the stadium itself is there, and, as of the end of August, it was basically game-ready. “It’s only Phase I,” Kegel said. “It’s a huge step. Again, it’s a dream come true, and we’re very proud of it as it stands. But I also always tell people, wait until you see the next phase.” Indeed. Northern does have ambitious plans for the stadium, but for now, Phase I has still given the Lights, and the campus a top-notch, small college football facility. The bowl effect is on three sides, while the east end zone area is open with awesome

views of Cowan Hall and Northern’s campus. That end of the stadium also has an entrance plaza, among other amenities. The brand new 900-fan capacity bleachers were installed on the north side of the stadium, with a five-room press box above the bleachers. In the future, the west side of the stadium, which also has Northern’s practice fields above it, will feature the main grandstand, as well as Northern’s state-of-the-art athletic and wellness complex. Future phases also include more parking and lights. Now, though, the stadium will have seating on one side, but, the three hillsides sur-

rounding the brand-new turf field, with Northern’s block N logo in the center, will be grass with underground sprinklers. The west end of the stadium also features a brand new Daktronics scoreboard and video screen. “This stadium is a game changer for us, in so many ways,” Northern head coach Andrew Rolin said. “It’s obviously going to be huge in terms of having our own stadium on campus, something everybody on our campus can call ours. It’s going to create an exciting gamely atmosphere as well. But, it’s going to do so much more for our pro-

gram. It’s going to help in recruiting, it’s going to help with practice, so many things. It really is a game changer for us.” “It’s huge,” Kegel said. “No matter what, when you visit any college campus, the football stadium is one of the first things people notice. So this stadium is much more than just about football. It’s completely changing our campus. It’s going to enhance the student experience on our campus, and it’s going to attract more students to our campus. This stadium is for everyone on our campus, and in this community. It’s going to do so much for Northern for years to come.”

Student Life: McKeon-Hanson: Northern has funding for extra staff, testing ■ Continued from page 4 the same anxiety that everyone does regarding the recent spike in cases in Hill County, but they believe the plans they have put in place will be able to protect their students. “We feel like we’re very prepared,” she said. McKeon-Hanson said she has been in contact with the Montana Commissioner of

Higher Education’s Office and has been discussing use of funds that have been made available to Montana University System schools through the CARES Act allocated by the governor’s office. She said she’s also been in contact with Hill County Health Department, which she said is doing an excellent job despite the

difficult circumstances, to try to get an idea of what the university can do to lessen the department’s burden during such a busy time for them. “Right now, one of the most important pieces that we’ve been working with our health department on is ‘What can we do from a staffing perspective that can help them?’” she said. She said the funds at Northern’s disposal can be used for hiring staff, testing and logistics related to COVID-19 and the problems and complications caused by the pandemic. McKeon-Hanson said she’s also been working with MUS on the development of the campus’ testing plan, determining how best to use the tests they have available. Kopp said the school will be keeping track of how things play out in the first few weeks and changes will be made if needed.

“All that is fluid,” he said. “One of the things to remember about this it that it’s day by day. We’ll see how it goes in the first few days and if it looks like we need to tighten up. Or if it looks like it’s going well and we can relax some things here and there — we can go either direction.” He said this situation has made for an intellectually engaging challenge for him and many others at MSU-Northern as well as the university system at large. “I think every obstacle we’ve run into has been an interesting one, from a purely academic perspective,” he said. McKeon-Hanson said the pandemic is a situation that has forced higher education to be far more flexible than it is accustomed to and agrees that it has made for an interesting challenge. “We’ve learned to be very creative,” she said.

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Many businesses that worked on the proj- and friends,” Erickson said. “It’s great, I ect are Havre businesses or are owned by love it.” Havreites. Patrick Construction Project Manager Lineweaver, a third-generation business Brett Patrick is a second-generation busiowner, said Clausen and Sons is the general ness owner and Havreite. contractors for the stadium project. He said Patrick Construction’s role in the It oversees all the facets stadium being built is priof the project, she said, marily doing all the dirt with all other subcontracexcavation, on the site field tors underneath it. work preparations as far as Clausen and Sons is conthe gravel and drainage tracted directly with the system, as well as the gravfoundation to do the projel for the underside of the ect, she said. concrete and bleacher Lineweaver grew up in areas. Havre, she said, her father Though he did not attended Northern and, as attend Northern, and neia company, Clausen and ther did his father, Tom Sons has done a lot of work Patrick, he said, it means a up at the university. lot to be part of this proj She said she is anxious ect. for football to be played on “We just have strong the field, whenever that support for Northern basimay be. cally for all whole lives,” Clausen and Sons Vice Brett Patrick said. “We President Pat Newton said realize the importance of Clausen and Sons has been the college and what it does supporting the college since for this community, this Pat Newton the business started in town, the Hi-Line in generClausen and Sons vice president Havre. al. We just like to support “It’s good to see the that because we know of its community come together importance to us in this and build a project like this,” he said. “To be community.” part of it is that it’s exciting to see it all He said a lot of pride is involved in workcome together.” ing on it as a community member and a 45 Architecture owner Ben Erickson is a business owner. Havre native, a Havre High graduate of 2005 He said Kegel reached out to Patrick and his family still lives here. Construction because they have worked on He said his father, Max L. Erickson, is many projects up at Northern throughout the owner of Erickson Insurance Group of years. Havre, and his mother worked at Northern “It just means a lot to be able to help get for a couple years as a counselor. something this large into this community,” 45 Architecture did the architecture Brett Patrick said. “I think there is a lot of designs and master plan for the stadium times with Northern and with Havre that you project, Ben Erickson said. kind of get sold short, that they can’t pull He said he and his team have worked on things off like this and in relevance, as you a few other stadiums throughout the state. look at the college and some of the great proj “It’s great to come back to Havre and ects they’ve been able to pull off over the work with people you know, people you’ve years, that it’s pretty amazing to think that a kind of stayed in touch with over the time small community like this can get such a big and you get to go back to Havre, see family project completed, and it’s just going to be a

It’s good to see the community come together and build a project like this. To be part of it is that it’s exciting to see it all come together

It’s great to come back to Havre and work with people you know, people you’ve kind of stayed in touch with over the time and you get to go back to Havre, see family and friends. It’s great, I love it Ben Erickson Owner, 45 Architecture

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Havre Daily News/Colin Thompson People work on the field at Montana State University-Northern’s new football stadium. great structure for that school and for Havre.” “As we’ve been going at this project, we were the first ones in there in March when we kind of stripped all the old stuff from the old football practice field and started — to me as you go up there that campus has had that beautiful image of when you are coming in from Highway 87 and you make that initial turn on to the campus where you are always looking down at Cowan Hall there and the great grass, and just the beautiful look that you get that initial turn. Now, when you turn in there you have that view and when you turn to your right-hand side you are going to have that view of just looking up into that stadium,” he added. “To me, it’s so cool what it has really developed — the western edge of that campus and turned it into somethings that’s just going to be a staple of a selling point, at least to me I believe that and it’s such a cool thing that’s going to be the next thing for Northern.”

Kegel said anything like this is good not only for Northern but for Havre and the region. “Anything that is progressive, whether it’s on our campus, or the city of Havre, or in this region anything like that is good,” Kegel said. “It’s good to have new things, better things, things that provide opportunities for more people — it’s always good, It’s good to be progressive, it’s good to be building.”


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Student life at Northern during pandemic New Northern football stadium a ‘game changer’ George Ferguson gferguson@havredailynews.com

Rachel Jamieson rjamieson@havredailynews.com

Montana State University Northern will look very different for students this year due to the COVID-19 pandemic, and the university has been putting plans in place to make on-campus living as safe as possible while maintaining in-person instruction. Dean of Students Corey Kopp said the school’s administration has been working on measures that follow advice given by local public health while maintaining as much of the on-campus experience as possible. “We’re taking a lot of the precautions that a lot of others are and maybe a little more than the institutions I’m aware of, because we have a little more flexibility,” Kopp said. He said they’re making an effort to make as many dorm rooms as possible singles, and so far most students will be able to live in those single rooms. Kopp said there are people who will need to live in double rooms but almost half of students in double rooms requested to room with a specific person. “We’re trying to limit occupancy as much as we can,” he said. Kopp said staff maintaining the dorms will perform a deep cleaning daily with general disinfecting in between and, at least for the first few weeks, student lounges will be closed. He said they’re also altering the move-in process by setting up two-hour blocks that students will be divided into in order to Havre Daily News/Jack Lambert spread out the process and reduce congesFood service worker Morgan McCrary bags up student Amos Taiswa’s lunch of chicken wings and onion rings in April inside the cafeteria tion. at Montana State University-Northern. Northern is trying to make school this fall as normal as possible while still using precautions to Kopp said no more than 25 students reduce the spread of COVID-19. should be moving into the dorms at a time according to the numbers they’ve seen. “It’s a difficult thing to change culture instruction and to make that happen everythe virus. He said because the school is Minimizing the number of people com- hosting a relatively small number of stu- when you’re motivated, it’s an entirely dif- one needs to, and by all appearances are, ing through the cafeteria is also something dents over all, he suspects this will not be working together. ferent ball game when it’s being forced on the university has been us by the nature of the circumstances,” he “We want to be able to stay face-to-face a major concern like it has looking at, he said. … and we’ve really become a community said. been at many larger instiStudents will not be able Kopp said students and staff will be par- that is working together and doing what we tutions in the country. to self-serve at the cafeteticipating in these efforts and the universi- need to do so that we can stay with a face“In Bozeman I think ria. Staff will hand out ty will keep in mind the possibility of hir- to-face delivery format,” she said. they have 3,000 students individual portions to ing more people should unexpected prob- McKeon-Hanson, who has a master’s living on campus. Here we avoid spreading the virus, degree in public health and is a member of lems arise. have about 200,” he said. and occupancy for seating He said unexpected hurHe said the university the Hill County Health Erica McKeon-Hanson has been reduced. dles do seem like somewill, of course, take action Board, has been given the Montana State University-Northern Kopp said the universithing of an inevitability if such things become a position of Northern’s pubty should be getting plexigiven the nature of the sitproblem, but they’re hoppublic health officer lic health officer, and she glass shields to protect uation, but for now they ing educating students said the students already students who choose to eat feel their workforce is sufabout the risks will minion campus have made at the cafeteria but, for ficiently robust. mize the issue without direct intervention. behaviors, like wearing now, they are requesting students take their Kopp said he’s received questions from “No matter how many masks a habit, and she’s food with them. things we plan for, there students and parents about the rules the confident that the students “Ultimately, it’s about reducing numare going to be things that university has put in place, but he hasn’t coming will be able to folbers, like everything else,” he said. come up that we never received any push back, or accusations low suit even if it is diffi Masks will also be mandated for all Corey Kopp considered,” Kopp said. that the university is being too strict. cult to get used to. areas with the exception of the dorm rooms “I haven’t heard a lot of negativity relat- “What we’re trying to Montana State University-Northern She said she’s very themselves and personal office space. dean of students prepare for is the inevitaed to what we’re doing,” he said. “Doesn’t confident in the plan the ble things that we haven’t “We’re still expecting social distancing mean it isn’t out there, it just means we university has put in place thought of yet,” he added. in all circumstances, and we’re encourag- haven’t been getting those phone calls.” and has been working on ing everyone to be as hygienic as possible,” However, Kopp said he understands that Despite the anxiety felt by many in the and evolving since the beginning of the university, Director of the Little River he said. these changes may be jarring and difficult Kopp also addressed the concern about to get used to. He said this is a culture Institute Erica McKeon-Hanson said the pandemic. McKeon-Hanson and Kopp said they feel change necessitated by external forces sentiment among students and staff is parties, and other congregations of students that pose a serious risk of spreading which can make it hard to swallow. almost unanimously in favor of in-person ■ See Student Life Page 6

We feel like we’re very prepared

Ultimately, it’s about reducing numbers, like everything else

There won’t be games to play this fall. There won’t even be very many practices, and the shiny new bleachers won’t have fans in them for some time. But the dream has still come true. The campus at Montana State University-Northern finally has its own football stadium. The Lights’ 2020 season has been postponed due to the ongoing COVID-19 crisis, but since ground broke in March, Northern’s football stadium has gone from one large swath of earth to a facility any Frontier Conference rival would envy. Construction began with a massive amount of dirt work back in March and April, and, while construction is ongoing, Northern did have a ribbon-cutting ceremony at the new stadium in August. “It’s been amazing to see it come together,” Northern Chancellor Greg Kegel said before the ceremony last month. “I see people drive by here every day, and it’s been awesome to see the progress. This is a dream come true for us, and it’s been possible because of the hard work and generosity of so many people.” From the fundraising to moving of dirt, which created a bowl effect, the project got started just as the coronavirus pandemic ramped up. And it ultimately would put a damper on Northern being able to christen the stadium this fall. 

■ See Game changer Page 6 Havre Daily News/Colin Thompson Goal posts stand at the east end of Montana State University-Northern’s new football stadium.


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Student life at Northern during pandemic New Northern football stadium a ‘game changer’ George Ferguson gferguson@havredailynews.com

Rachel Jamieson rjamieson@havredailynews.com

Montana State University Northern will look very different for students this year due to the COVID-19 pandemic, and the university has been putting plans in place to make on-campus living as safe as possible while maintaining in-person instruction. Dean of Students Corey Kopp said the school’s administration has been working on measures that follow advice given by local public health while maintaining as much of the on-campus experience as possible. “We’re taking a lot of the precautions that a lot of others are and maybe a little more than the institutions I’m aware of, because we have a little more flexibility,” Kopp said. He said they’re making an effort to make as many dorm rooms as possible singles, and so far most students will be able to live in those single rooms. Kopp said there are people who will need to live in double rooms but almost half of students in double rooms requested to room with a specific person. “We’re trying to limit occupancy as much as we can,” he said. Kopp said staff maintaining the dorms will perform a deep cleaning daily with general disinfecting in between and, at least for the first few weeks, student lounges will be closed. He said they’re also altering the move-in process by setting up two-hour blocks that students will be divided into in order to Havre Daily News/Jack Lambert spread out the process and reduce congesFood service worker Morgan McCrary bags up student Amos Taiswa’s lunch of chicken wings and onion rings in April inside the cafeteria tion. at Montana State University-Northern. Northern is trying to make school this fall as normal as possible while still using precautions to Kopp said no more than 25 students reduce the spread of COVID-19. should be moving into the dorms at a time according to the numbers they’ve seen. “It’s a difficult thing to change culture instruction and to make that happen everythe virus. He said because the school is Minimizing the number of people com- hosting a relatively small number of stu- when you’re motivated, it’s an entirely dif- one needs to, and by all appearances are, ing through the cafeteria is also something dents over all, he suspects this will not be working together. ferent ball game when it’s being forced on the university has been us by the nature of the circumstances,” he “We want to be able to stay face-to-face a major concern like it has looking at, he said. … and we’ve really become a community said. been at many larger instiStudents will not be able Kopp said students and staff will be par- that is working together and doing what we tutions in the country. to self-serve at the cafeteticipating in these efforts and the universi- need to do so that we can stay with a face“In Bozeman I think ria. Staff will hand out ty will keep in mind the possibility of hir- to-face delivery format,” she said. they have 3,000 students individual portions to ing more people should unexpected prob- McKeon-Hanson, who has a master’s living on campus. Here we avoid spreading the virus, degree in public health and is a member of lems arise. have about 200,” he said. and occupancy for seating He said unexpected hurHe said the university the Hill County Health Erica McKeon-Hanson has been reduced. dles do seem like somewill, of course, take action Board, has been given the Montana State University-Northern Kopp said the universithing of an inevitability if such things become a position of Northern’s pubty should be getting plexigiven the nature of the sitproblem, but they’re hoppublic health officer lic health officer, and she glass shields to protect uation, but for now they ing educating students said the students already students who choose to eat feel their workforce is sufabout the risks will minion campus have made at the cafeteria but, for ficiently robust. mize the issue without direct intervention. behaviors, like wearing now, they are requesting students take their Kopp said he’s received questions from “No matter how many masks a habit, and she’s food with them. things we plan for, there students and parents about the rules the confident that the students “Ultimately, it’s about reducing numare going to be things that university has put in place, but he hasn’t coming will be able to folbers, like everything else,” he said. come up that we never received any push back, or accusations low suit even if it is diffi Masks will also be mandated for all Corey Kopp considered,” Kopp said. that the university is being too strict. cult to get used to. areas with the exception of the dorm rooms “I haven’t heard a lot of negativity relat- “What we’re trying to Montana State University-Northern She said she’s very themselves and personal office space. dean of students prepare for is the inevitaed to what we’re doing,” he said. “Doesn’t confident in the plan the ble things that we haven’t “We’re still expecting social distancing mean it isn’t out there, it just means we university has put in place thought of yet,” he added. in all circumstances, and we’re encourag- haven’t been getting those phone calls.” and has been working on ing everyone to be as hygienic as possible,” However, Kopp said he understands that Despite the anxiety felt by many in the and evolving since the beginning of the university, Director of the Little River he said. these changes may be jarring and difficult Kopp also addressed the concern about to get used to. He said this is a culture Institute Erica McKeon-Hanson said the pandemic. McKeon-Hanson and Kopp said they feel change necessitated by external forces sentiment among students and staff is parties, and other congregations of students that pose a serious risk of spreading which can make it hard to swallow. almost unanimously in favor of in-person ■ See Student Life Page 6

We feel like we’re very prepared

Ultimately, it’s about reducing numbers, like everything else

There won’t be games to play this fall. There won’t even be very many practices, and the shiny new bleachers won’t have fans in them for some time. But the dream has still come true. The campus at Montana State University-Northern finally has its own football stadium. The Lights’ 2020 season has been postponed due to the ongoing COVID-19 crisis, but since ground broke in March, Northern’s football stadium has gone from one large swath of earth to a facility any Frontier Conference rival would envy. Construction began with a massive amount of dirt work back in March and April, and, while construction is ongoing, Northern did have a ribbon-cutting ceremony at the new stadium in August. “It’s been amazing to see it come together,” Northern Chancellor Greg Kegel said before the ceremony last month. “I see people drive by here every day, and it’s been awesome to see the progress. This is a dream come true for us, and it’s been possible because of the hard work and generosity of so many people.” From the fundraising to moving of dirt, which created a bowl effect, the project got started just as the coronavirus pandemic ramped up. And it ultimately would put a damper on Northern being able to christen the stadium this fall. 

■ See Game changer Page 6 Havre Daily News/Colin Thompson Goal posts stand at the east end of Montana State University-Northern’s new football stadium.


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Northern students back on the campus Rachel Jamieson rjamieson@havredailynews.com

Editor’s note: A version of this ran in an August edition of the Havre Daily News. Montana State University-Northern has returned for the new school year, trying to be as normal as possible but with many changes as it deals with the COVID-19 pandemic. “We’ve decided that we’re opening the campus,” Chancellor Greg Kegel said last

month. “We’ve decided to go everything face-to-face as normal, but the normal as part to include as much as we can in distancing, trafficking, meaning to spread the students across the campus as much as we can to minimize as much overload as we can in a classroom.” He said in order to do that, the school had to do a complete evaluation of all of the campus's space. A team went in this summer, he said, went into each classroom and looked at its

designated occupancy load, and then looked at what the load would be with the distancing standing that that school wants to establish for safety. This evaluation has been done in every single room on every floor in every building, he said. “We’re scheduling those kids in those rooms to those levels,” Kegel added. “We’re providing all the sanitation stuff that they need, meaning the spaces will be clean before and after each day, the sanitation sta-

tions will be available for any person that wants to sanitize. We are requiring that face masks are used in our facilities — either mask or shield.” He said the campus is trying to bring back as much face-to-face as it can as normal. An option of things being able to be broadcast live will be available to a participant who cannot make the class for whatever reason, he said.  He said the school has invested thousands

Game changer: Kegel: 'It’s completely changing our campus' ■ Continued from page 5 And yet, the stadium itself is there, and, as of the end of August, it was basically game-ready. “It’s only Phase I,” Kegel said. “It’s a huge step. Again, it’s a dream come true, and we’re very proud of it as it stands. But I also always tell people, wait until you see the next phase.” Indeed. Northern does have ambitious plans for the stadium, but for now, Phase I has still given the Lights, and the campus a top-notch, small college football facility. The bowl effect is on three sides, while the east end zone area is open with awesome

views of Cowan Hall and Northern’s campus. That end of the stadium also has an entrance plaza, among other amenities. The brand new 900-fan capacity bleachers were installed on the north side of the stadium, with a five-room press box above the bleachers. In the future, the west side of the stadium, which also has Northern’s practice fields above it, will feature the main grandstand, as well as Northern’s state-of-the-art athletic and wellness complex. Future phases also include more parking and lights. Now, though, the stadium will have seating on one side, but, the three hillsides sur-

rounding the brand-new turf field, with Northern’s block N logo in the center, will be grass with underground sprinklers. The west end of the stadium also features a brand new Daktronics scoreboard and video screen. “This stadium is a game changer for us, in so many ways,” Northern head coach Andrew Rolin said. “It’s obviously going to be huge in terms of having our own stadium on campus, something everybody on our campus can call ours. It’s going to create an exciting gamely atmosphere as well. But, it’s going to do so much more for our pro-

gram. It’s going to help in recruiting, it’s going to help with practice, so many things. It really is a game changer for us.” “It’s huge,” Kegel said. “No matter what, when you visit any college campus, the football stadium is one of the first things people notice. So this stadium is much more than just about football. It’s completely changing our campus. It’s going to enhance the student experience on our campus, and it’s going to attract more students to our campus. This stadium is for everyone on our campus, and in this community. It’s going to do so much for Northern for years to come.”

Student Life: McKeon-Hanson: Northern has funding for extra staff, testing ■ Continued from page 4 the same anxiety that everyone does regarding the recent spike in cases in Hill County, but they believe the plans they have put in place will be able to protect their students. “We feel like we’re very prepared,” she said. McKeon-Hanson said she has been in contact with the Montana Commissioner of

Higher Education’s Office and has been discussing use of funds that have been made available to Montana University System schools through the CARES Act allocated by the governor’s office. She said she’s also been in contact with Hill County Health Department, which she said is doing an excellent job despite the

difficult circumstances, to try to get an idea of what the university can do to lessen the department’s burden during such a busy time for them. “Right now, one of the most important pieces that we’ve been working with our health department on is ‘What can we do from a staffing perspective that can help them?’” she said. She said the funds at Northern’s disposal can be used for hiring staff, testing and logistics related to COVID-19 and the problems and complications caused by the pandemic. McKeon-Hanson said she’s also been working with MUS on the development of the campus’ testing plan, determining how best to use the tests they have available. Kopp said the school will be keeping track of how things play out in the first few weeks and changes will be made if needed.

“All that is fluid,” he said. “One of the things to remember about this it that it’s day by day. We’ll see how it goes in the first few days and if it looks like we need to tighten up. Or if it looks like it’s going well and we can relax some things here and there — we can go either direction.” He said this situation has made for an intellectually engaging challenge for him and many others at MSU-Northern as well as the university system at large. “I think every obstacle we’ve run into has been an interesting one, from a purely academic perspective,” he said. McKeon-Hanson said the pandemic is a situation that has forced higher education to be far more flexible than it is accustomed to and agrees that it has made for an interesting challenge. “We’ve learned to be very creative,” she said.

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Many businesses that worked on the proj- and friends,” Erickson said. “It’s great, I ect are Havre businesses or are owned by love it.” Havreites. Patrick Construction Project Manager Lineweaver, a third-generation business Brett Patrick is a second-generation busiowner, said Clausen and Sons is the general ness owner and Havreite. contractors for the stadium project. He said Patrick Construction’s role in the It oversees all the facets stadium being built is priof the project, she said, marily doing all the dirt with all other subcontracexcavation, on the site field tors underneath it. work preparations as far as Clausen and Sons is conthe gravel and drainage tracted directly with the system, as well as the gravfoundation to do the projel for the underside of the ect, she said. concrete and bleacher Lineweaver grew up in areas. Havre, she said, her father Though he did not attended Northern and, as attend Northern, and neia company, Clausen and ther did his father, Tom Sons has done a lot of work Patrick, he said, it means a up at the university. lot to be part of this proj She said she is anxious ect. for football to be played on “We just have strong the field, whenever that support for Northern basimay be. cally for all whole lives,” Clausen and Sons Vice Brett Patrick said. “We President Pat Newton said realize the importance of Clausen and Sons has been the college and what it does supporting the college since for this community, this Pat Newton the business started in town, the Hi-Line in generClausen and Sons vice president Havre. al. We just like to support “It’s good to see the that because we know of its community come together importance to us in this and build a project like this,” he said. “To be community.” part of it is that it’s exciting to see it all He said a lot of pride is involved in workcome together.” ing on it as a community member and a 45 Architecture owner Ben Erickson is a business owner. Havre native, a Havre High graduate of 2005 He said Kegel reached out to Patrick and his family still lives here. Construction because they have worked on He said his father, Max L. Erickson, is many projects up at Northern throughout the owner of Erickson Insurance Group of years. Havre, and his mother worked at Northern “It just means a lot to be able to help get for a couple years as a counselor. something this large into this community,” 45 Architecture did the architecture Brett Patrick said. “I think there is a lot of designs and master plan for the stadium times with Northern and with Havre that you project, Ben Erickson said. kind of get sold short, that they can’t pull He said he and his team have worked on things off like this and in relevance, as you a few other stadiums throughout the state. look at the college and some of the great proj “It’s great to come back to Havre and ects they’ve been able to pull off over the work with people you know, people you’ve years, that it’s pretty amazing to think that a kind of stayed in touch with over the time small community like this can get such a big and you get to go back to Havre, see family project completed, and it’s just going to be a

It’s good to see the community come together and build a project like this. To be part of it is that it’s exciting to see it all come together

It’s great to come back to Havre and work with people you know, people you’ve kind of stayed in touch with over the time and you get to go back to Havre, see family and friends. It’s great, I love it Ben Erickson Owner, 45 Architecture

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Havre Daily News/Colin Thompson People work on the field at Montana State University-Northern’s new football stadium. great structure for that school and for Havre.” “As we’ve been going at this project, we were the first ones in there in March when we kind of stripped all the old stuff from the old football practice field and started — to me as you go up there that campus has had that beautiful image of when you are coming in from Highway 87 and you make that initial turn on to the campus where you are always looking down at Cowan Hall there and the great grass, and just the beautiful look that you get that initial turn. Now, when you turn in there you have that view and when you turn to your right-hand side you are going to have that view of just looking up into that stadium,” he added. “To me, it’s so cool what it has really developed — the western edge of that campus and turned it into somethings that’s just going to be a staple of a selling point, at least to me I believe that and it’s such a cool thing that’s going to be the next thing for Northern.”

Kegel said anything like this is good not only for Northern but for Havre and the region. “Anything that is progressive, whether it’s on our campus, or the city of Havre, or in this region anything like that is good,” Kegel said. “It’s good to have new things, better things, things that provide opportunities for more people — it’s always good, It’s good to be progressive, it’s good to be building.”


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New stadium has many more local connections than its location Rachel Jamieson rjamieson@havredailynews.com The people who worked to make Montana State University-Northern’s new football stadium a reality have more connecting them to the project and the university than the work they did on the stadium. “We’re very proud to be able to be part of such a big project in our community and to be able to help the college get such a facility,” Clausen and Sons President Autumn Lineweaver said. “It is very exciting for everyone and hopefully benefit the community as a whole, first at the college and brings more people to the school and to our community, just overall economically being a very positive thing for our town and our area.” Lineweaver said Clausen and Sons is the general contractor for the stadium project. Montana State University-Northern Chancellor Greg Kegel has been talking for several years of building an athletic complex at Northern including the university’s own football stadium for its team, the Northern Lights. Last year the project officially got underway with fundraising starting last fall and the work starting in March. The stadium is complete, although its initial use is delayed, with the conference postponing football due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Much of the work done to build the stadium is by people with connections to Havre and to Northern itself. Havre Daily News/Colin Thompson That includes the money donated to build The press box sits atop the bleachers at the stadium, with people chipping in to add Montana State University-Northern’s new to Northern’s infrastructure. stadium. “Our stadium is a project that I started a Shantel Cronk said starting in her role a litnumber of years ago and I came right out in tle over a year she has not not worked on articles and said this isn’t about football this this project. is about building sustainability on this campus, this about protecting Northern to ensure “It’s really been a labor of love, not only with the university but with that this little campus is the community,” she said. vibrant and contributing to “Almost all of our funds, this region in the state of close to 95 percent of our Montana,” Kegel said. “... funds, have been from It’s going to be a huge small private people in the recruiting, huge retention area, and being one of piece for that student life those people from the area component that is on our that grew up here it’s realcampus.” ly, really beautiful to see Most of the money people come together and donated for the stadium has build something, and been from local people and evolve something.” businesses along the She is a fourth generation Hi-Line. Montanan, she said, and He said the stadium is her mother is a graduate of more beautiful because it is Northern as well as her Greg Kegel being built with local grandmother, who hapMontana State University-Northern money. pened to be part of the first chancellor “And people that saw class of the university in that, the vision, agreed it is 1929, she added. the right thing to do and the community “At that time, they didn’t even have a needs it, and we did it,” Kegel said. “To me, campus, so I think she would just be thrilled that’s the big part, that’s the most special to see what we are doing to Northern and part about it is how many people got behind how we’ve evolved it in the 90 years,” Cronk it and let’s get this thing done, and we did said. “It’s quite exciting for me, especially it.” when you think about this is a small town, so And the people working on the stadium this town is very fortunate to have a univerare often local people. sity in its backyard and I think it’s taken for Montana State University-Northern granted from time to time, but there’s generAlumni Foundation Executive Director ations of students that go here.”

And people that saw that, the vision, agreed it is the right thing to do and the community needs it, and we did it

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of dollars for new equipment in order to do that, from sound equipment to cameras, different platforms of delivery and more. “We’ve also had teams working on, what I call spinning up faculty, so that they’re ready to go and they’ve been doing workshops with our faculty all through the summer,” he said. “Teaching them how to use the equipment and making sure that their coursework is brought up so that it is organized and structured for the 13 weeks of instruction this fall, so it’s been monumental in what we’ve been doing.” The fall semester began Monday, Aug. 31, and runs through Tuesday, Dec. 8. Face-to-face instruction courses will be offered through Tuesday, Nov. 24. After Thanksgiving, students will not be returning to campus and their courses will be accessed through alternate delivery methods. Finals will also be accessed through alternative delivery methods between Wednesday, Dec. 2, and Tuesday, Dec. 8. Kegel said he is asking the students to minimize travel as much as they can. “If you don’t have to go home this weekend, don’t go home. If you don’t have to leave the state of Montana, don’t leave the state of Montana,” he said. “All of that will help contain what we’ve got, which right now is a very safe atmosphere. We’ve been running all summer in Hill County with very low numbers and we want to keep the numbers as low as we can.” He is optimistic about that, he said. He said the school will be performing some type of sentinel testing. Havre Daily News.Coin Thompson Every day more and more rapid-testing Some Montana State University-Northern students sit on the university’s quad Aug. 29 during during new student orientation. ideas are coming about, he said. “We’re asking the students to do a lot of we’re promoting a safe-as-we-can environself-diagnosing, so that if they feel funny, ment as quality-as-usual-environment, we’re have any of the symptoms of COVID that going to have to deliver,” Kegel said. “That they let us know and we work with them that was one of the reasons we spent all summer way or maybe test them because of it.” ramping up everything to make sure that we He added that he was encouraged in all are totally ready to go both the communities he went to safety-wise and qualityof how many have wise. embraced the fact that “COVID has been a everyone wears a mask, challenge — it has chaldoes their distancing. lenged me as the leader of “I’m bringing that whole this institution in a lot of thing back to Northern, I’m different ways, and it’s nice hoping that’s the way we to have challenges, it’s nice go forward and I’m very to be able to embrace and much optimistic that we do the best that you can are going to have a good under those circumstances, fall,” he said. but this is a different one,” COVID-19 hit Montana he added. “It’s a complicatright around spring break ed one that has been polititime at Northern this year. cized too much. It’s deadly, Kegel said he’s pretty we know it’s deadly. All of confident that Northern this intertwined, we want to handled it as well as any do the right thing always.” institution in the state, if Now with COVID-19, he not better. is worried about things that He has heard zero comhe thought he would never Greg Kegel plaints from the students, have to worry about, he Montana State University-Northern he said, but he came back said. chancellor “We’re going to make and said that was a differevery decision based on ent time. what’s best with the conference with all of It was kind of like a surprise attack, the teams that play in the conference for all nobody knew what COVID was, what kind of of us and I’m going to make decisions that effect it was going to have on the campus and society, he said. are best for our students and for our faculty “There’s probably a little bit of grace in and staff,” Kegel said. “It’s been different. that with our instruction and now when It’s been hard.”

If you don’t have to go home this weekend, don’t go home. If you don’t have to leave the state of Montana, don’t leave the state of Montana


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