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Here's the plan: District 518 releases site map for new property

WORTHINGTON -- Worthington Independent School District 518 officials have released a site plan for the 157-acre property purchased by the district in March. The construction bond referendum that residents will vote on in November will include a 2...

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WORTHINGTON - Worthington Independent School District 518 officials have released a site plan for the 157-acre property purchased by the district in March.
The construction bond referendum that residents will vote on in November will include a 25-year bond at $75 million to build a new high school, stadium, shotput/discus field, two parking lots, three to four soccer fields, two softball fields and a baseball field on the property. The facilities are included in the school district’s site plan in addition to other future developments on the land.
District officials hope they will receive public input on the plan during school board meetings in June.
“There will be lots of conversations - and this is what it’s about,” said Superintendent John Landgaard. “Those public meetings are input meetings. It’s time for us to address what people want in the plan. … The school is a community asset, so it’s time to speak up so we get it the way the community wants.”
In the future, the district also hopes to build an ice arena, a pool, an additional parking lot and potentially more soccer fields and a softball field. The construction costs of those facilities are not included in the November referendum.
The school district is examining funding options, and district officials will aim to present a plan to the public that includes consolidating its existing debt with bonds the district would issue for the project. In this way, the district would receive additional state aid, Landgaard said.
District officials also hope to continue working with the city to build three additional soccer fields on the land.
In a joint meeting between city, county and district leaders earlier this month, Landgaard suggested the city build three soccer fields on the school property instead of repairing Buss Fields. The Worthington City Council approved a motion a week prior to that meeting to fund an engineering project dedicated to the Buss Fields work.
“When you collaborate you create that opportunity to save costs and you don’t duplicate that space,” Landgaard said. “You are ultimately saving dollars in the end, and that’s important to everybody.”
While city leaders said they have not agreed to build the fields on the district’s new property, they plan to meet with district officials in a special city council work session 4 p.m. Tuesday to discuss the project. 
“It’s a council decision,” said Mayor Mike Kuhle, adding that it’s an option for the city. “Either way, the city is moving forward with soccer fields this fall.”
The project will help stimulate economic growth in Worthington, Landgaard said.
“It will be a staple that will promote economic growth because it shows to outside businesses and entities that we are willing to invest and grow,” Landgaard said. 
With the new facilities, the city would be able to host more regional tournaments and become an important economic regional center, he added. 
“When people visit, they will be going to restaurants and motels and spending money - that helps the economy,” he said. 
New state legislation will also address tax issues for the business community and farmers and will reduce costs if signed by Gov. Mark Dayton, Landgaard wrote in a news release. 
The overall master plan for the facilities will be presented during public input meetings at 7 p.m. June 8 and June 21 in the Worthington High School band room.
The school board will also host a work session meeting at 4 p.m. June 8 to adjust the plan. It will further discuss the plan during its regular school board meeting at 5:15 p.m. June 21. Both meetings are open to the public.

Related Topics: EDUCATION
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