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Helmut Schmidt, Published August 23 2010

Davies High on schedule for 2011 opening

Fargo’s newest school, Davies High, is rapidly coming together amid the bean fields on the city’s southernmost border.

The two-story structure is “definitely” getting done on time for a fall 2011 opening, Principal Jeff Schatz said.

It will be “people ready” July 1, he said.

Davies has a smaller, more energy-efficient footprint than the sprawling single-story South and North high schools. Academics and activities radiate from a single east-facing entrance and commons.

The building is also heated with geothermal energy from 980 wells.

The north section houses most of the academic areas – math, science, social studies, art, English, foreign languages, business, family and consumer science, and special education. Some rooms are ready for carpet, while others are bare studs and wiring.

Soaring wooden arches grace the ceilings of the second-floor library, the main-floor commons and main gymnasium. Earth-tone tiles line the walls.

The auditorium and arts and technical education and trades classrooms are on the southwest side of the building, while the gyms, locker rooms and pool are on the southeast.

The ceiling and catwalks are finished in the auditorium, but the seating area is still a dirt floor.

The orchestra, band and choir rooms are nearly done, with cabinets ready to be installed, Schatz said.

The eight-lane pool must still be enclosed. When ready, it will seat 850 people at competitions.

Waiting on roads

The school is surrounded by farmland, at least a half mile from any homes to the north and east. No major access roads are in place.

The north-south arterial 25th Street South is two lanes of gravel from 58th Avenue South to the school and won’t be improved until 2011, Schatz said. The city took bids for the main east-west access road – 70th Avenue South – on Aug. 4, he said.

Many of the staff members will come from Fargo South and South Campus II, with some from Fargo North. Other hires will be made when needs are identified, Schatz said.

“A lot of the teachers I’ve talked to are looking forward to change,” he said. “They look at it as a professional change. That has been a real positive.”

The athletic complex dwarfs the school itself.

The football and track complex is nearly complete. The lights will get a five- or six-day burn-in soon, activities director Ed Lockwood said.

The complex was master-planned with the Fargo Park District, which owned 20 acres of land next to the School District’s 60 acres. That saves tax dollars, said Jim Larson, the Park District’s director of finance and human resources.

The School District is building the indoor pool, while the Park District is building an outdoor pool.

Costs of the baseball field and tennis court are shared 50-50, while 90 percent of the cost of the four softball fields is paid by the Park District, Larson said.

The practice football and soccer fields were paid for by the School District, Larson said.


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