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Under construction: District 518's building projects are mainly on target

“The Community Ed building is going about as well as any project we’ve had going in the last 20 years so far."

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Joining in the ribbon cutting ceremony at the Worthington Intermediate School open house Tuesday afternoon were Natalie Kerkaert (front, from left), Giana Martinez, Evan Meyer, Blayke Miller, Ellie Van Briesen, Kaylee Raymo, Rylan Fletcher and Annika Kinser. Row 2: Chamber Ambassadors Andy Johnson and Holly Sieve, Principal Katie Clarke, student Ryker Fricke, ISD 518 board chair Lori Dudley, Ambassador Kris Correll, Assistant Principal Cory Van Briesen, student Adalynn Marquardt, Wold Architects’ Misica Tang, and Ambassador Laurie Maras. Row 3: Ambassadors Andrew Johnson, Tina Nickel and Sarah Hayenga, ISD 518 board members Mike Harberts and Stephen Schnieder, Wold Architects’ Sal Bagley, ISD 518 board members Joel Lorenz and Adam Blume, and Ambassadors Jessica Noble and Todd Henderson. Row 4: ICS’ Jon Kuenstling, ISD 518 Director of Operations Dave Skog, Ambassador Kelly Meyer, ISD 518 board member Tom Prins, Ambassador Marv Spomer, ISD 518 Superintendent John Landgaard, ICS’ Pat Overom, Ambassador Melissa Gehl, and ICS’ Chris Ziemer. Row 5: Wold Architects’ Joe Matlock, ICS’ Josh Gangestad and Baird Financial Services’ Mike Hoheisel.
Anne Foley/ISD 518
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WORTHINGTON — District 518’s many building projects are largely on track, despite a surprise discovery at the administration building and long waits for some mechanical building materials, the Operations Committee of the District 518 Board of Education learned Tuesday.

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“The Intermediate School is in session, everything is going — it seems to be going pretty well,” said Dave Skog, director of operations for District 518. “There’s still a few minor issues. The stair treads that were supposed to be put in last weekend did not arrive.”

  • The Intermediate School: The overhead folding door to the gym was delayed, but is still set to arrive and could potentially be installed over Christmas break. Minor issues and projects are still being checked off the punch list, Skog said.
  • Community Education: Concrete work is in progress, and landscaping could start next week. Some portions of the interior are getting ready for sealing already and overall, “the Community Ed building is going about as well as any project we’ve had going in the last 20 years so far,” according to Skog.
  • Administration Building: During the addition and remodeling process, it was discovered that the building was put up over the foundation flooring and walls of the wastewater treatment plant. Rather than attempt to remove all of the sturdy, rebar-filled wastewater treatment remnants, builders opted to remove it only where the new foundation goes.
  • West Learning Center: Bids for demolition of the former West Elementary will likely be requested in January, said Superintendent John Landgaard, as soon as possible so that work can begin in April. The cost of asbestos removal has soared, and the cost of removing it preparatory to demolition is likely to be around $350,000, Landgaard said.
  • The storage shed: The building process hasn’t started yet, but everything is in place, including a storm sewer outlet. Skog said he hopes to see dirt and concrete work begin soon.
  • The HVAC project: Three of the four units at Worthington High School were replaced over Labor Day weekend, and it went very smoothly, Skog said. The chiller at Prairie Elementary will be replaced in the spring.
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The committee also received updates on the continuing water leak issue at the Learning Center, which the project’s contractors are still working on. They asked when legal action would be appropriate, and were answered that typically a contractor would get 2 years to fix a problem before it would go to court. The contractors were served a notice approximately 8 months ago.

An unrelated water leak in a WHS music room is still causing some confusion, as a dispute over the water’s source and its sporadic nature are making it difficult to trace.

In other news Tuesday, the committee:

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  • Received an update on the Crailsheim Road study, as well as a draft of a resolution that will go before the full board at 6 p.m. Tuesday. The resolution resembles the ones Nobles County and the city of Worthington sent to the Minnesota Department of Transportation after MnDOT’s traffic study recommended few changes on the Crailsheim Road corridor. Safety concerns for students attending the three schools on that road prompted the study, but it was done prior to the beginning of the school year, leaving local government officials in doubt as to its usefulness. In response, the county and city requested a new traffic study, and District 518 intends to do the same.
  • Discussed setting its preliminary levy at $7.91 million, which would be a decrease of 4.13% from last year’s levy. However, Landgaard mentioned that there are needs the board should keep in mind for the future, such as additional soccer and baseball fields and perhaps changes to the high school.
  • Heard about Nobles County’s efforts to update and continue the Nobles Home Initiative, which is otherwise set to expire at the end of the year.
  • Received an agreement for the school to continue using the JBS Field House from 3 to 5:30 p.m. Monday through Thursday from Sept. 12 to Nov. 8 without cost. It will need to be approved by the full board.
A 1999 graduate of Jackson County Central and a 2003 graduate of Augsburg College, Kari Lucin started writing for newspapers in Minnesota and North Dakota in 2006. During her time as a reporter, she covered beats including education, watershed, county and agriculture, and frequently wrote about health and science. She has also served as an online content coordinator and an engagement specialist at various Forum Communications properties. She was a marketing assistant at Iowa Lakes Community College in Estherville for two years, where she did design work in addition to writing and social media management.

Lucin is currently a community editor with the Globe of Worthington.

Email: klucin@dglobe.com
Phone: (507) 376-7319
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