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Trojan Field in for a makeover should District 518 bond pass

WORTHINGTON — The Aug. 14 Independent School District 518 ballot question regarding athletic field improvements and renovations will specify the recipient as Trojan Field — which would get up to $4 million if the bond passes — the board of education decided Tuesday.

The motion to do a near-overhaul of Trojan Field passed 6-1. Board member Linden Olson cast the lone “no” vote.

“For us to provide correct information to voters, I think it’s important to determine that location as part of the (ballot) question,” Superintendent John Landgaard said about the need for the board to make a decision.

Prior to Tuesday evening’s vote, board members continued to grapple with whether the funds would best be spent renovating Trojan Field or building anew on district-owned property on Crailsheim Drive — where the district intends to continue its effort to build a new high school.

Olson’s no vote was cast on the opinion that, while incrementally more money, building anew on the west edge of town would better serve the multiple users of the field and more.

“Drawing events from southwest Minnesota will be far more attractive out west than (at Trojan Field),” he said. “I probably won’t live to see it, but it’s going to be out there, so why not put it out there in the first place?”

Board Vice President Scott Rosenberg said he shared many of Olson’s opinions and would rather see a new field built out west. However, at the rate accomplishing the goal for a new high school is going, he didn’t want to jump the gun.

“There’s no crystal ball to tell us when that is or if that’ll happen in the next 10 to 20 years,” he said.

Rosenberg said he’d ultimately support renovating Trojan Field on the condition that the field have artificial rather than natural turf.

“Because if you’re going to use it for all these events — that’s what has wrecked and destroyed what we have there now, is overuse on a natural turf,” he said. “If you use it for all those events, you’ll have the same thing in a few years again.”

The current proposal is budgeted to include an artificial turf field.

Spectator parking was also a topic discussed and thrown into the mix of pros and cons about each potential location.

Board Treasurer Brad Shaffer recommended the renovation of Trojan Field include transitioning the main field entrance from its current location north of the field to the easternmost end. Shaffer said that way, spectators would be more likely to park where overflow parking into the high school parking lot exists.

Any renovations exceeding $4 million would be covered from the district’s fund balance, Landgaard said.

In other board business, the board:

  • Unanimously approved a resolution calling for a two-question Aug. 14 referendum for the construction of an intermediate school not to exceed $35 million and for improvements to Trojan Field not to exceed $4 million. The 20-year bond will be structured as a full-wrap, which will show a lower tax impact for taxpayers, but ultimately cost $800,000 more throughout the life of the bond.
  • Heard preliminary name suggestions for the new Area Learning Center/Gymnastics facility under construction on Crailsheim Drive. Board members suggested each bring up to five recommendations and sort out similarities before narrowing down a selection and taking it to a public vote.

Board member Steve Schnieder recommended not naming the facility after a person, as the district has historically opted to not do. Olson said it was important to tie “Worthington” or “Trojan” and “Learning” and “Gymnastics” together, so not to omit any of the groups and offend anyone. Board members would have the ultimate decision, which Landgaard said should be made by fall.

  • Approved salary and benefit increases over two-year periods for food service staff, 10.90 percent; food service director, 10.97 percent; attendance officer, 6.19 percent; database network specialists, 6.56 percent; tech management specialists, 6.7 percent; extended online learning manager, 6.05 percent; parent liaisons, 6.02 percent; activities director, 9.66 percent; and district accountant, 6.73 percent.
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