WORTHINGTON — An architect is working on a master plan for school property along North Crailsheim Road, Superintendent John Landgaard informed the District 518 Board of Education Operations Committee Tuesday.

The plan will include athletic fields as well as space for a potential pond like the one proposed by the Okabena-Ocheda Watershed District. Placing a pond on the property could potentially stop 300 pounds of phosphorus and even more sediment from reaching Lake Okabena, watershed officials told the school board at a previous meeting. Excess phosphorus in a lake can lead to algae blooms, which negatively impact water quality.

“We’ll be using the watershed plan, but maybe narrowing the scope a little bit,” Landgaard said.

“I want to make sure that (District 518 is) the priority,” said Mike Harberts, school board member.

Landgaard said the master plan would reflect District 518 priorities, though it will use the watershed district’s diagram of the site.

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“It’s not going to be a really huge, detailed plan,” he added.

When the site master plan is complete, it will be brought back to the school board for approval or changes, and then it will be shared with the watershed district, to see if it can be made into a functional plan.

At that point, should the pond project go forward, District 518 would give an easement to the watershed district, which would allow the watershed district to be responsible for building and maintaining the pond on District 518 land. Costs for the project could potentially be paid for with a 75% cost share with the state of Minnesota, according to Watershed Administrator Dan Livdahl.

In other news Tuesday, the committee:

  • Heard informational updates on the school’s building projects. Work on the intermediate school’s exterior is set for completion in the next week, allowing it to be closed for interior work. Workers are in the process of installing footings for the Community Education building, with steel for the building likely arriving some time in January. The District is deciding between wood and metal materials for its storage facility, and plans are being drawn up for the expansion of the district offices as well.

  • Received information about District 518’s COVID-19 status. Currently eight students and seven staff members have COVID-19, Landgaard said, but some people are not testing. Access to tests has become an issue for some. He encouraged parents to keep students home if they are sick, and emphasized that they should not be sent to school for testing.