WORTHINGTON — The Independent School District 518 operations committee will recommend for full board approval the adoption of several agreements to advance the proposed Welcome, Education, Library and Livability (W.E.L.L.) project.

During Tuesday’s operations committee meeting, members decided to recommend approving an architect contract with LHB ($259,000) and an owner's representative contract with ICS ($1.2 million) for full board approval next week.

The committee will also recommend approving a Memorandum of Understanding between the city, county and school district that outlines an agreement to share costs associated with an environmental study and geotechnical evaluation. That recommendation was made contingent upon the Nobles County Board of Commissioners and Worthington City Council also approving the MOU.

The commissioners approved the architect and owner’s representative contracts during a meeting that followed the school district’s Tuesday morning committee meeting. The commissioners tabled the MOU. The city council, meanwhile, is expected to consider the same agenda items during its Monday meeting.

Board Clerk Steve Schnieder had questions about the site remediation process, and what the district’s intent is with regard to cleaning up contaminated soils. While the extent of site contamination won’t be known until the study is complete, Schnieder said he won't support only doing the bare minimum to satisfy the state’s regulations if it means leaving any contaminants.

“I don’t like the idea of having contaminated soils underneath something that little kids play on top of,” he said. “This stuff moves, vaporizes, people dig holes — I think if we’re going to be there, this is the time to do it and get it done.”

The operations committee will also recommend for full board approval the allowing of a K-3 youth wrestling tournament to be hosted on a Sunday, which is typically against the district’s practice. Landgaard reported that the tournament would also require janitorial staff, which the district pays double time on Sundays and holidays.

New Worthington wrestling coach Kirk Feit said this is the first year in several that the program has had enough numbers to host a tournament. The Sunday request for the 12-team event was mostly based upon the availability of gym space and convenience of mats being already set up for the Big South Wrestling Tournament the day before. The youth wrestling association will pay for janitorial costs, Feit added.

“It’s up to the parents to decide whether they want their kids participating on Sunday or not,” Schnieder said. “If they don’t, then they don’t take their kids. They have that option.”

In other school board committee business, the operations committee:

  • Heard an update on construction of the Learning Center. According to Landgaard, while occupied, there’s still a significant punch list of items that need accomplishing, including addressing roof ventilation issues. Months behind schedule, Landgaard said the district will soon send the construction company a letter indicating its plan to withhold a 150% retainage to get the remaining work done within 30 days, or the district may hire someone else to get it completed.

  • Heard an update on the Trojan Field remodel, which is in the final design stages with bidding to occur in the next few weeks. According to Landgaard, the scope of the project looks to be more than the $4 million original estimate, due to the field house not being accounted for in the project estimate.

The next District 518 regular Board of Education meeting is at 5:15 p.m. Oct. 15 in the High School Media Center.