New additions at DLHS lift sails on Laker Pride – Detroit Lakes Tribune

DETROIT LAKES — Rob Nielsen looked at the acoustic panels being installed at the Lakeshirt Fieldhouse in Detroit Lakes High School and got goosebumps.

The school district’s activities director noted, “It’s interesting how many times I’ve gotten goosebumps since my wife and I moved to the community.”

The sound panels feature Laker athletes from every sport. Athletic moments captured on film were blended with digital imprints by an artist at the Trophy House in Detroit Lakes. When the pictures were blended together they were printed on acoustic panels provided by DOW Acoustics, also of Detroit Lakes.

Nielsen said a committee of five looked through thousands of pictures to feature on the 6-foot by 4-foot panels. Most sports were given three panels. There were 92 panels in total being installed.

The committee discussed who would be featured on the panels. The idea of ​​only state champions was considered, but the committee felt it was equally important to celebrate athletes who saw character growth or personal achievements. To go with the district’s mission of making “Champions in Life,” Nielsen said the group decided to simply go with the best pictures for the panels.

The Lakeshirts Fieldhouse at Detroit Lakes High School now features acoustic sound panels for each of the 29 sports offered in the school district. For comparison, Activities Director Rob Nielsen noted large districts, such as Eden Prairie offer 31 sports.

Barbie Porter / Detroit Lakes Tribune

“We took the pictures to the artist and he figured out how to fit them together,” Nielsen said. “Some of the older pictures look grainy, but it gives it an artistic look with the way it was put together.”

A police officer, who happened to be visiting the school, saw the panels and added, “boy that’s gonna dress it (the fieldhouse) up.”

The sound panels will also serve the practical purpose of decreasing noise in the fieldhouse, which offers bowl seating with a basketball court taking center stage. There is also a balcony with a track or standing space, and it is on the upper level where the panels were installed.

Nielsen may experience goosebumps again when the district’s mural project comes to fruition. For about a year the school has collected photographs of Laker alumni, and with about 1,500 photographs submitted, a mosaic mural was created.

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Detroit Lakes High School alumni were invited to submit photographs for a mosaic that is slated to be installed at the Lakeshirts Fieldhouse.

Barbie Porter / Detroit Lakes Tribune

“It has pictures of people, their families, what they are doing now, and in those pictures, you can see a sailboat and our ‘Champions in Life’ motto,” Nielsen said.

The vinyl mosaic mural will measure 8 feet by 6 feet and be installed on the upper floor of the fieldhouse as well. Nielsen explained, once it is installed, it will appear as though it was created directly on the cement block wall.


Minnesota Vikings wide receiver Adam Thielen purchased brand new equipment for the new Detroit Lakes High School weight room.

Barbie Porter / Detroit Lakes Tribune

If that wasn’t enough to celebrate in Laker Country, the school is also applauding the generosity of a professional football player — Adam Thielen. Thielen, a 2008 Detroit Lakes High graduate, approached the school district and asked to purchase all new equipment for its weight room, Nielsen said. At the time, the school was hoping voters would approve major renovation projects, and asked the Minnesota Viking if the offer had an expiration date. Nielsen said Thielen was also generous with his time, allowing the school to find the opportune time to accept the gift.


A student walks through the expanded weight room with new equipment. Adam Thielen, a 2008 Detroit Lakes High School graduate who plays for the Minnesota Vikings, asked the school district if he could purchase all new equipment for the weight room and graciously waited for the renovation and addition projects to be completed.

Barbie Porter / Detroit Lakes Tribune

Nielsen said the new weight room was previously a half-court-sized gym space. New windows were added to the room and the donated state-of-the-art equipment was brought in.

Compared to the old weight room, the new one is about “three-or-four times” larger, Nielsen said. He added that the larger space has allowed sports teams to use the equipment at the same time. Whereas before, there were times teams would skip weight day, he said.

“Now we can have 60-or-70 kids at once, all working out,” he said. “Before, if we had 30 that was a tight fit.”

The equipment is in and weight training classes are being held in the space, along with team workouts, but mottos have yet to be added to the walls as well as a few acoustic panels.

The old weight room was transformed into a dance studio and space where aerobic and yoga classes can be held. Nielsen said he was glad to give the school dance team a place to call home.

While seeing projects that exemplify Laker Pride may cause some goosebumps to lift on Nielsen’s arms, he explained most of the bumps belong to the people and businesses who are part of Laker Pride — from Thielen providing for the next generation of athletes to Lakeshirts building an ” amazing gym” to those who donated pictures to be part of a school pride project.

“People step up in this community,” he said. “It’s a team effort. It’s always great to step back and look at what we did together.”


The old weight room was transformed into a dance studio that is also used for gym classes.

Barbie Porter / Detroit Lakes Tribune