Helmut Schmidt, Published October 28 2013
West Fargo picks Independence for name of new elementary schoolWEST FARGO – The West Fargo School Board has continued with a patriotic theme for new construction, voting 6-0 Monday to name the latest elementary school Independence.
The board also voted 6-0 to buy 12 acres of land at $30,000 per acre to build the district’s next elementary school – planned to open in 2015 – in The Wilds subdivision, just north of 52nd Avenue South and west of Sheyenne Street.
Independence is now under construction at 3700 54th St. S. in Fargo, and is scheduled to open in fall 2014.
The school district’s two newest schools, Freedom Elementary and Liberty Middle School, also border the Veterans Boulevard corridor.
“It certainly fits with the theme, which I think will be exciting for the kids and the families,” Independence’s Principal Mike Shea said.
Shea is now principal of fifth-graders attending Liberty Middle School.
Enrollment growth south of Interstate 94 has been so robust that the school board voted last January to send eight classrooms of fifth-graders from Freedom and Aurora elementary schools to free up space in those schools until Independence opens.
The next two closest names in the board’s voting were Justice and Patriot, followed by Dakota, Courage, Allegiance, Prairie Rose and Orion.
The district’s original plan for the school going to The Wilds was to build on a site just north of Fargo’s Deer Creek subdivision and south of 52nd Avenue South.
But Business Manager Mark Lemer said there were access and development problems for the site north of Deer Creek.
Once The Wilds site is platted and developed with access roads, Lemer said it will have no less than 10 acres available for construction of the school and open space.
Lemer said the construction cost estimate for the school is $11,750,000. With the $360,000 cost of land, that brings the cost to $12,110,000.
Lemer said the district can pay for the project by: using a $9.4 million state school construction loan; redirecting $1 million in unused contingency funds from the construction of Liberty Middle School; using $950,000 in unobligated funds from the $82.5 million in bonds approved by voters in 2011; using $450,000 in unused contingency funds from the first phase of the Sheyenne High School; and using $300,000 from various budgets for work at Liberty, Sheyenne and the Osgood Kindergarten Center, which come to $12.1 million.
In other business, the board agreed to purchase $230,090 worth of radios from Mid-States Wireless to be used at schools during incidents and emergencies.
The project will equip the kindergarten centers and elementary schools with one bank of six radios per site; both middle schools and high schools with two banks of six radios per site; and the Leidal Education Center, Lodoen Community Center and bus barn with one bank of six radios per site.
The contract includes all other infrastructure, equipment, installation, licensing, programming and training, district spokeswoman Heather Konschak said.
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Helmut Schmidt at (701) 241-5583