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District 518 approves plans to expand band room

WORTHINGTON — The District 518 Board of Education approved plans to expand the Worthington High School (WHS) band and music classroom during its meeting Tuesday.

The plan was originally brought to the board four months ago, but wasn’t moved forward.

“About four or five months ago we talked about doing an addition to the music room, and because of the timeline as well as some issues with the additional classrooms the board did not approve it,” said Superintendent John Landgaard. “But the operational committee met, and we feel it is important for the board to talk about moving forward with this project.”

Landgaard urged the board to act on the matter quickly in order to have an appropriate bidding time for the project.

“I think we all agreed that we liked the original plan brought to us a few months ago, but pushing it back a little will give us more time to hear input from the classroom users themselves,” said board member Mark Shepherd.

“I will tell you that we had 110 students enrolled in band this year, and next fall we have 163 enrolled in band,” Landgaard explained. “I don’t necessarily see it getting smaller, either.”

The motion was passed unanimously.

The board also approved a tax abatement resolution for lots in the West Park Acres across from Olson Park. This is the first abatement resolution to be approved after the board approved the tax abatement plan two months ago. According to state law, the board will have to approve each individual abatement resolution that comes up for consideration.

Before the regular school board meeting, a special public hearing was conducted for board members and the public to ask questions about the abatement on the West Point Acres property. Abraham Algadi, manager of Worthington Regional Economic Development Corp., was present to answer questions.

Algadi told board members the abatement would start five years after a certificate of occupancy was issued.

“The program is opened for a window of three years,” Algadi said. “Even if we a receive an application at 11:50 p.m. on the last day of that three-year window, that application will have a lifespan of five years.

“There’s two parts to this,” he added. “The approval you do today only approves the construction. That’s all it does — nothing happens with the abatement during the construction period. Once the construction is done the certificate of occupancy is issued, (and then) the five years begin.”

Board member Steve Schnieder said the county does not issue a certificate of occupancy, and asked what would be the determining time for them.

“The county issues a land use permit, not a building permit, and they do not issue a certificate of occupancy,” Schnieder said. “The county doesn’t do any building inspections outside the city of Worthington, so how will the county determine when the clock starts ticking if they don’t have a certificate of occupancy?”

Algadi said he would meet with the county board to address this issue.

During the regular school board session, the board unanimously approved the resolution but made amendments beforehand

“I would make a motion to amend the resolution to state that the abatement would become effective upon (receiving a) certificate of occupancy as issued by the city of Worthington,” said Schnieder.

Chairman Linden Olson proposed another amendment to the resolution to address the issue of land value, and what might happen should an abated property increase in value.

“We’re adding to the resolution to include ‘beyond the base value of the property exclusive of the land so that the land would not be included in the base value of it,’” Olson said.

The amended resolution was approved.

Also approved during the meeting was a contract with ICS Consulting for the high school restrooms on the lower and upper level to be remodeled, as well as a bid on the restroom project of $193,067.

Replacement on part of the roof at West Area Learning Center was also approved, but some board members showed hesitancy.

“I have some reservations on spending money on this building. I know that we need to, but I think this is $63,000 that we shouldn’t be spending,” said board member Joel Lorenz.

Twenty-five teachers who were issued tenure were also recognized at the meeting.

Linda Lund, of the Nobles County Integration Collaborative, also gave a brief presentation about the recent visit by the Mexican consulate who donated books to the district for grades K-6 on topics such as history, math, civics, geography and Spanish.

As a celebration for the end of the school year, Quinn Bents, the student representative for the school board, gave a summary of the year.

“Overall, the school year went really well with sports, music and ag; we have a lot to be proud of,” Bents said. “I think student participation is great, and a lot of our programs are thriving. I know we had some problems with prom fundraising and there’s always things we can work on, but overall I think the year went well.”

Daily Globe Reporter Erin Trester may be reached at 376-7322.

Erin Trester
Erin Trester is the crime and city reporter for the Daily Globe. She's a native of Lewiston, MN, but moved to Buffalo, NY to attend college and obtained her bachelor's degree in Communications. She started at the Western New York Catholic Newspaper as a reporter in Buffalo, but in October 2013 she returned to her home state to start with the Daily Globe. Most of her spare time is taken up by her 13-year-old thoroughbred named Faith, but some of her other hobbies include reading, fishing and spending time with friends and family. 
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