Sanford Health announces $1 million contribution to Trojan Field remodel

ISD 518 board members also discussed construction bids Wednesday morning, which are about $2.7 million over budget.

Sanford Health donation Trojan Field
Sanford Worthington Executive Director Jennifer Weg (standing) announces a $1 million donation from Sanford Health to ISD 518 for its Trojan Field remodel. (Alyssa Sobotka/The Globe)

WORTHINGTON — Sanford Health announced on Wednesday morning a $1 million contribution toward renovation of Independent School District 518’s Trojan Field.

The contribution, which is to be paid in $100,000 installments over 10 years, was announced during a Wednesday special Board of Education meeting. Board members unanimously approved the gift, which is in addition to a $250,000 contribution recently made by Minnesota West Community and Technical College.

“We’re here for the school, we’re here for the community and I think we are a great complement to each other, and this gift is a significance in how we work together,” Sanford Worthington Executive Director Jennifer Weg said upon announcing the contribution to board members.

The recent financial contributions to the project come as the district has already committed to reconstructing the approximately 60-year-old facility. Construction of a new stadium and athletic field with artificial turf, nine-lane track, new bleachers, scoreboard, play clock, concession area and remodeled field house is expected to begin in spring. Construction completion is anticipated in September 2020.

According to Weg, Sanford Health became aware of — and began discussing — the need for Trojan Field improvements about five years ago. Over time, she said, the district has defined the scope and been more clear on what improvements it wanted to make.


Weg said Sanford wanted to invest in Worthington.

Karlie Solum, Sanford Health community relations specialist, said keeping rural communities healthy and vibrant is important to Sanford.

“It’s very important to us that your communities are healthy, and with health comes a community that has good business drivers and good school systems,” she said.

School board clerk Steve Schnieder thanked Sanford and Minnesota West for partnering with the project, which he said is important in southwest Minnesota and helps focus Worthington as a regional center.

When complete, Trojan Field will be home to District 518 athletic teams, Minnesota West football and soccer teams and many YMCA programs.

"This is a remarkable partnership that further solidifies the important community role that both ISD 518 and Sanford Health play in the Worthington area, said Josh Dale, activities director at ISD 518. "With this partnership, Worthington is leading the way as an example of how a community can work to grow together."

Received bids over budget

The board also got the first look at project bids during Wednesday’s special meeting. The low construction bid of $4,794,000 was submitted by Puetz Corporation in Mitchell, South Dakota.

With additional soft costs, the project is now estimated to cost $7.2 million altogether. The board originally budgeted $4.5 million for the work, but some items, like the field house, were not calculated into the original estimate.


Board treasurer Linden Olson said there were three bids submitted within $15,000 of one another.

“That’s a pretty narrow range of bids,” he said. “So the idea that you’re going to find some other bidders or take out stuff to lower that a lot is fairly remote, unless you change the whole design of the project and take some things out.”

Board member Mike Harberts suggested the board wait until it can open bids for the second-story addition to the high school, which it is expected to do in the next few weeks, before taking action on the Trojan Field bids.

The board took no action Wednesday on the bids. Further discussion is expected at Tuesday’s regular board meeting.

As a project that was significantly undervalued, the higher-than-expected project bids led chairperson Brad Shaffer to speak to a potentially broader issue.

Despite the unexpected price tag, Shaffer said he’s not concerned about the district’s ability to accomplish its Trojan Field project. He said he’s more concerned about future projects.

“I need to make sure we’re starting to get closer estimates than 75% of the bids,” he said. “There will inevitably be more costs once we start the project … we can handle that, but we need to start at the right spot.”

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