WORTHINGTON - District 518 is off to a busy summer with many different activities and projects in the works. The summer has become very busy for the district with summer school, band camp, the summer meals program, a variety of projects such as the middle school track, playground surfacing at Prairie, parking lots, moving of programs and completion of the Learning Center/Gymnastics facility. District 518 is very thankful for the quality educators and employees that have worked through a difficult school year to ensure continuous excellence in education for students.
The Learning Center/Gymnastics facility has been a difficult project to get on track due to weather, but is scheduled to be completed the first week in August. Currently, they have started sheet rocking in the academic area, tile work is partly completed in some areas, painting, dirt work, graphics work, and concrete work on the outside will start soon.
A number of questions concerning the project and financing have been asked over the last few months, and I want to share that the budget is on track. About half of the contingency fund remains, so costs are being controlled on this project. At some point, a statement was made that the building was sinking, which is not true. This will be a solidly constructed facility that should last for years.
The teachers from the Learning Center toured the facility about a week ago and are excited to get into the facility this fall. They were amazed with many of the areas and how this facility will work to support students in providing an excellent educational facility. An open house will be scheduled in the fall for district residents to view this space, and the gymnastics team is planning a special event in conjunction with the open house. It will be an exciting time to display the facility.
We are very happy to answer questions about this new district facility and will be scheduling a tour of the construction site for school board members in the next few weeks so they can answer questions on the facility’s progress first hand.
Projects the district are currently working on to support our students are the planning of a second-story addition at the high school that will support six to seven classrooms, the renovation/replacement of Trojan Field, the planning for a community education facility as a part of the WELL project (collaborative project with other entities) and a November referendum election that will make a request of voters.
The referendum will be a three-question ballot. The first question will ask voters to consider a two-grade (fourth and fifth) intermediate facility for approximately $29.7 million. The second question will ask voters to add an additional grade (third) to the intermediate facility for approximately an additional $7 million. The second question is contingent on the first question passing. The third question will ask voters to consider converting the current lease levy for the Learning Center/Gymnastics Center into a general obligation bond. This question is not contingent on question one or two passing, and would allow agriculture landowners to receive the Ag2school tax credit. This credit was increased in the last legislative session from 40% to 50% and will continue to increase through 2021 to 70%. This will be a much-needed tax benefit to the landowners and will be a great support with this tax relief.
The district would like to encourage everyone to understand the referendum that is scheduled for Nov. 5, 2019. A great deal of information will be shared with district residents over the next four months, but if you have questions, please feel free to contact the district to get your information. Please watch for your ISD 518 Community Education brochure. It will include referendum information along with other general district information.
Thank you for all the continued support of District 518.