WORTHINGTON — Independent School District 518’s Board of Education approved bids submitted for two upcoming construction projects during its regular Tuesday meeting.

With board clerk Steve Schnieder absent, present members unanimously approved the $2.9 million bid submitted by Hoogendoorn Construction for the second-story high school addition. The Canton, South Dakota-based company was one of eight bidders; their bid was reportedly approximately $100,000 less than the estimate.

By a 4-2 vote, the board also approved the $319,955 bid from Musch Construction of Pipestone for the second phase of paving its middle school parking lot near the tennis courts and baseball field. The bid by Musch Construction was one of five.

Consistent with other votes regarding the middle school parking lot, board members Mike Harberts and Adam Blume voted in opposition of approving the bid.

“I believe in priority spending and I don’t believe this takes priority over science labs, technology space, cafeteria space or other projects around the district,” Harberts said, adding that between the two phases, the project is well over the estimate the board originally discussed. “I believe this is an unnecessary expenditure on the heels of raising the tax levy to the maximum.”

Blume said he didn’t disagree that some improvement is needed, but explained that he felt the funds being used to pave the parking lot could be better utilized elsewhere.

Board chairperson Brad Shaffer said the parking lot’s condition has been deteriorating over the years, but there was about a six-month span this year during which it was the worst he’d ever seen.

“It’s case in point why you can’t let things go too long," Shaffer said. "Otherwise, you spend more than you should have to fix it.”

Shaffer added that the city of Worthington contributed money to the tennis courts and also depends on the public having the ability to access the courts.

Board vice chairperson Lori Dudley noted that the project has been identified on the district’s long-term list but has already been pushed back several times. Paving the parking lot will also eliminate long-term maintenance costs, board treasurer Linden Olson added.

“We’ve been spending a lot of time and effort trying to keep that in decent shape and we weren’t getting that done,” he said.

In other school board action, the board:

  • Unanimously approved five-year tax abatement requests made by Dan Krueger for the construction of new homes on North Crailsheim Road. The most recent properties approved with the Nobles Home Initiative Program are located at 1388, 1420 and 1426 North Crailsheim Road.

  • On the heels of a recent threat, heard a suggestion from student school board representative Adam Koller about implementing a procedure and communication to students as to how administration would like students to report threats or suspicious activity.

  • Unanimously approved participation in vocal jazz competitions. Competitions outside of Worthington will include Vermillion and Brookings, South Dakota.

  • Unanimously approved selling bond series 2020A.

  • Unanimously approved declaring technology issued for the VIBE program as surplus property.

  • Unanimously approved a student teacher agreement with Bemidji State.