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Kelly Smith, Published December 09 2009

Fargo School District to lease new maintenance space

Moving the Fargo School District’s maintenance equipment to new space was the center of debate on Tuesday.

The Fargo School Board barely passed a motion to allow the district to enter into a lease agreement for a central Fargo building for up to six years.

The former Krider Equipment Co. building at Fifth Avenue South and 25th Street will house the district’s grounds, snow removal and parking lot maintenance services.

The district will pay $70,000 a year to lease the 10,000-square-foot space.

The district now leases about 4,000 square feet from the Fargo Park District for $20,600 a year.

“It’s over two and a half times the equipment space,” Business Manager Dan Huffman said of the increase in annual cost. “It’s way more than we got now.”

Board members approved the lease on a 5-4 vote.

Jim Johnson, Dinah Goldenberg, Dan Fremling, Robin Nelson and Rick Steen voted “yes,” while Don Faulkner, John Strand, Laura Carley and Paul Meyers voted “no.”

Strand voiced concern the district didn’t publicly advertise it was looking for that space. Meyers questioned if officials had researched the cost well enough.

“I just think we’re missing out on our duties,” Meyers said. “Is this a worthwhile amount to be committing?”

Because the building is in the West Fargo School District, district officials said they think the district will be exempt from paying taxes on it.

“It’s actually a good thing for our school district,” said Fremling, the board president. “It does make good sense for us to enter into this lease agreement.”

Others, though, were less convinced.

“I didn’t like (that) it was rushed,” Meyers said. “If it was such a good deal, it would be a good deal in January.”

Readers can reach Forum reporter Kelly Smith at (701) 241-5515