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Helmut Schmidt, Published November 23 2010

West Fargo School Board gives go-ahead to building projects

The West Fargo School Board voted 7-0 on Monday to go ahead with seven construction projects worth $7.6 million, most of which could be completed before the start of school next fall if planning starts soon.

However, the board did not vote on $5 million in bonds to help fund the projects because the district had not gotten a bond rating for them until Monday, Business Manager Mark Lemer said.

Credit rating agency Standard & Poor’s rated the bonds A-plus.

Those bonds will be bid next Monday, and the board will be asked to approve the results at a special meeting at 5:30 p.m. that day.

About 20 school bus drivers attended the meeting. Their spokesman, Transportation Director Brad Redmond, said the group was upset by a report that some board members want to study if the district should continue to run its own bus fleet.

“We keep going through this over and over again. And every time, it’s upsetting,” Redmond said.

He said the drivers want a voice in the debate.

“We love what we do, and we hope we’re part of the process,” Redmond said.

Superintendent David Flowers said that will happen. “Anytime we talk about transportation, Brad will be at the table,” he said.

The approved construction projects are:

Five projects are recommended for later action: improvements to the district’s bus facility; remodeling the Tintes Building at the bus barn to hold the central freezer and cooler, expand and renovate the high school food service receiving, storage and food preparation areas; district-wide repairs and upkeep; and decommissioning the Berger Elementary track.

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