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Helmut Schmidt, Published July 24 2012

12-acre plot may be for new West Fargo school

WEST FARGO – The West Fargo School Board has decided to buy up to 12 acres of land about a half mile east of Veterans Boulevard in Fargo for a potential elementary school.

The land, about three blocks north of 40th Avenue South, is addressed as 5052 and 5202 40th Ave. S., according to the purchase agreement. The cost is $30,000 an acre, the agreement states.

The School District has seen continuous enrollment growth, particularly at the elementary and middle school levels. Last year, the district’s enrollment increased by 315 students over 2010-11.

The district ended the 2011-12 school year with 7,549 students in pre-kindergarten through 12th grade, district spokeswoman Heather Konshak said.

Recent estimates call for enrollment to grow by another 368 students for the 2012-13 school year, Business Manager Mark Lemer said.

Superintendent David Flowers said “the timing is good” for the land purchase approved by a 6-0 vote on Monday. Given the district’s growth, it’s important to have options for building an elementary school “sooner, rather than later.”

Lemer told board members the city of Fargo has more outlet roads planned for the 200-acre development where the parcel is located. He said the Fargo Park District also has land north of the elementary site, and that parks officials have told him they would consider a land swap if it’s needed.

The cost of the land will be paid out of $82.5 million in bonding approved by voters to pay for school construction.

Of the projects being built by that bond issue:

West Fargo has two other parcels of land available for schools, Lemer said.

It owns 20 acres just south of 52nd Avenue South on the north end of the Deer Creek subdivision in Fargo. Lemer said the “most logical” development of that land would be an elementary school.

There is also an 80-acre parcel along County Road 17 just north of Horace, Lemer said.

Lemer said the purchase of the 40th Avenue South parcel should be completed within six weeks.

School Board member Judy Kvaale was not present at Monday’s meeting.

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

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