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Helmut Schmidt, Published December 30 2008

Fargo commissioners vote 4-1 to annex land for new high school

The Fargo City Commission voted 4-1 Monday to annex 420 acres of land south of the city limits in large part to provide city services to the Fargo School District’s next high school.

The annexation includes parts of five sections of Stanley Township, mostly south of 64th Avenue South to 76th Avenue South, on both sides of the 25th Street corridor. It should be official in two weeks, City Planner Jim Gilmour said.

The School District plans to open Judge Ronald N. Davies High School in fall 2011 at 25th Street South and 70th Avenue South.

While area residents didn’t file protests, Commissioner Mike Williams, the only commissioner to vote against the annexation, had plenty to say in opposition.

“I think it’s premature for this expansion,” said Williams. Williams asked commissioners to delay a vote 30 days to allow for petition drives or to learn if state lawmakers oppose it. That motion lost on a 4-1 vote.

Williams said the city also doesn’t know what level of flood protection will be required in the area.

Fargo businesswoman Karen Stoker said she didn’t want the process to be rushed.

“I didn’t vote for someone on the School Board to determine the growth of my community,” she said.

Commissioner Brad Wimmer said residents had chances to protest and complaints are a year or two late.

“They’ve broken ground. … I think we need to move with them,” he said.

Mayor Dennis Walaker called Williams’ protest “just a delaying tactic.

“I don’t believe it’s our issue to go against the School District,” Walaker said.

Gilmour said the city may still be able to require the School District to pay some of the costs of extending city services to the school.

Readers can reach Forum reporter Helmut Schmidt at (701) 241-5583