The “Dedication Night” planned by USD 410 for the new Joel H. Wiens Stadium this Friday is a long-awaited event that some of us feared would never come to pass. When patrons of the school district passed a bond issue in early June 2007 to provide half of the funding to build the much-needed football and track-and-field facility in a 50-50 partnership with Tabor College, we thought the biggest hurdle had been cleared: Reasonable people could agree that it simply made sense for the two entities, one public and the other private, to join forces for a shared project rather than to build separate ones.
But one district patron felt otherwise and filed a lawsuit to block the project, claiming state law did not allow a school district to own property with another entity. More than a year passed as the case was litigated. The state attorney general and a district judge finally spoke in the district’s favor, but to prevent prolonged litigation, the district reached a financial agreement with the plaintiff to end the proceedings.
Building plans were revised to account for about $800,000 in buying power that was lost during the time the lawsuit was in the court system. But construction eventually began, and now all of us can enjoy the fruit of long hours and careful planning by representatives from our school district and college. This a great day as we celebrate creativity, collaboration and the victory of common sense. —DR