Worthington hopes to fast-forward Field House construction

Updated: Aug 20, 2020

WORTHINGTON – Based on an emergency declaration in late March, the Worthington City Council has moved forward with a plan for the Field House so the indoor fields can hopefully be ready for use by late winter.

The declaration of a local emergency gave the council the ability to adjust ordinances as needed for the health and welfare of Worthington’s citizens. In this case, that means allowing the Field House to open with a number of restroom facilities that may not initially meet building code.

The Field House originally had an addition that went outside the footprint of the blue building, but that plan went awry during the WELL discussion. Later, when JBS came forward with a donation to enhance the project, the addition was added back in, and the architectural design is 97 percent done, according to city administer Steve Robinson.

With the approval of the council, they will restart the architectural and design process and get ready for the bid process. If bids are favorable, Robinson said the indoor turf portion could be available for use by late winter or early spring in time for the practice season for sports that were shifted due to the Minnesota State High School League’s decision regarding sports during the pandemic.

Building code requires that a certain number of restroom fixtures be available based on capacity, but with the emergency declaration, the city has the ability to work around that ordinance during the pandemic.

“The emergency declaration authorizes city staff to address emergencies that would otherwise require council approval,” Robinson explained.

According to Robinson, the number of fixtures may not meet code initially, but later in the construction process, code will be met.

“There’s no guarantee that all of this will come together in time,” Robinson said. “But we’re going to give it our best shot.”

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