Weather Forecast


Partners break ground on regional retention pond

Julie buntjer/Daily Globe Minnesota West students in the Issues in the Environment class join city, county, school and community officials to celebrate the groundbreaking of a regional stormwater retention pond near the south end of the college campus Tuesday morning.

WORTHINGTON -- A ceremonial tossing of dirt Tuesday morning marked the start of construction on a regional water retention pond on the south end of the Minnesota West Community and Technical College campus in Worthington.

The approximately $360,000 project is made possible through a partnership of multiple agencies, including Nobles County, the city of Worthington, Worthington District 518, the E.O. Olson Trust, Okabena-Ocheda Watershed District and the college.

"This is a wonderful partnership and we're so glad we can share it with our community," said Campus Dean Dawn Gordon following the groundbreaking ceremony.

Storm water flowing through the campus has been an issue for more than a decade, but the process of lining up partners materialized during the past 18 months.

Initially, Minnesota West considered construction of a half-acre pond to handle runoff just from the campus.

The regional pond, increased to approximately 2 acres with a maximum depth of 12 feet, will collect runoff from approximately 200 acres of land west and northwest of the city. The pond will allow for sediment and pollutants to settle out before the water flows into Lake Okabena.

Gordy Heitkamp, maintenance director for Minnesota West, said the process to get to Tuesday's groundbreaking was "kind of a struggle," but the financial and moral support along the way was appreciated.

"Without the county's role in this pond, it would not have happened as a regional pond," Heitkamp said.

Nobles County will excavate approximately 40,000 yards of soil for the pond and use it for curb, gutter and bike trail construction along Nobles County State Aid Highway 35 and Crailsheim Drive. By providing the excavation, the county has a cost-savings for its project and, in turn, saves its partners some construction costs for building the retention pond.

Financial contributors to the project are Minnesota West ($100,000), the E.O. Olson Trust ($25,000); the city of Worthington ($25,000) and the Okabena-Ocheda Watershed District ($10,000).

Daily Globe Reporter Julie Buntjer may be reached at 376-7330.

Julie Buntjer

Julie Buntjer joined the Globe newsroom in December 2003, after working more than nine years for weekly newspapers. A native of Worthington, she has a bachelor's degree in agriculture journalism. Find more of her stories of farm life, family and various other tidbits at

(507) 376-7330