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Published March 21 2010

Storm sewer will expand to Davies

Pools of muddy snowmelt surround Fargo’s new Davies High School, but district and city officials say the issue won’t be plaguing the building each wet spring.

It will be resolved as soon as city infrastructure catches up with the school, they said. The city will be expanding its storm sewer system to the school, off 25th Street just south of Fargo, this summer.

“There isn’t an overland flooding problem at Davies High School,” said Dan Huffman, assistant superintendent of business services. “We’re just there a few months ahead of the city storm sewer. As soon as the storm sewer gets in, the issue goes away.”

The water hasn’t damaged facilities on the site, which is slated to open for students in fall 2011.

“We have all the drains and all the sewers on the site, but there’s nowhere to drain into,” said Mike Magelky of Fargo-based MBN Engineering.

He said the city experienced the same problem at nearby Kennedy Elementary, which opened in fall 2006.

“We were building the school before the city infrastructure got there,” Magelky said.

Crews elevated Davies 4 feet above the flat farm field on which it stands, and the building is protected from the Red River cresting up to 42 feet.

District officials have previously said that if overland flooding does claim the area surrounding the school, classes could temporary move to other buildings.

City infrastructure will catch up with Davies this summer and next, said Fargo City Engineer Mark Bittner. The city will raise 25th Street South above floodplain levels. Fargo is also in discussion with county officials about elevating 76th Avenue South.

Bittner also said the soggy conditions around Davies this spring should not be a concern.

“There’s no storm sewer out there, so everything goes into the ditches,” he said. “You always have that problem when urban meets rural.”

Readers can reach Forum reporter Mila Koumpilova at (701) 241-5529