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Column: Updates are planned and on the way for District 518

By District 518

WORTHINGTON — While Mother Nature works to buck the last reins of winter, the track season is already underway. The aging Trojan Field facility, however, seems to be less prepared than the eager young athletes who are utilizing it for practice.

Over the course of the rough winter, the inside lane of the Trojan Field track suffered structural damage around one of the turns. This has rendered that lane temporarily unusable by runners. Repair plans are underway to allow use of the full track this season, but the damage is just another sign of the issues arising from the 58-year-old facility. There is hopeful news to look for, however.

On March 19, the Independent School District 518 School Board approved the plan to seek bids for a refurbish of the Trojan Field facilities. The school board must still approve any bids that come in for this work, but the process to update this aging facility is well on its way. Surveyors were on site last week taking measurements and gathering the data needed to start the bidding process for the work to be done.

Along with the work on Trojan Field, the Worthington Middle School will be receiving an update from their current dirt-surface track to a hard-surface track that can be utilized while work is taking place on the Trojan Field track. The upgrade at the middle school has also seen preliminary data collection take place earlier this month.

This planned update to these two facilities is part of the facilities long-term master plan that includes a road map for addressing the growing needs of the district. Space issues that have been ongoing for several years and aging and safety issues like what is being addressed with the planned Trojan Field project are some of the topics addressed in this plan.

The community and the school board have made it clear that the desired intention is to continue using the current Worthington High School within its current role. Originally constructed in 1956, the high school has been serving students in our community for 63 years. Education has changed greatly over these years. Entire programs such as Special Education have been added. Computer labs and other technology spaces have needed to be designated. Curriculum changes over the years have diversified the amount and variety of classes that students have access to for their class schedule.

All of these changes take space and work in combination with the growing enrollment Independent School District 518 is experiencing to continue to push the space issue. This growing space need at the high school was to be addressed by the school board at its April 16 meeting.