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Cali Owings, Published November 12 2013

Fargo Park Board approves elementary school in Ed Clapp Park

FARGO – After a month of discussion, Fargo’s newest elementary school is set for Ed Clapp Park.

The Fargo Park Board voted unanimously on Tuesday in favor of allowing the school district to build its next elementary school on a portion of Ed Clapp Park.

Though many Bluemont Lakes neighborhood residents previously voiced concern about loss of green space, parking and traffic issues, the school plans passed quietly.

The Park Board’s approval is contingent on more discussions to finalize a financial agreement that would allow for shared use of some school spaces and that the school be named in honor of Ed Clapp.

“It just means a great deal to the neighborhood,” said Ben Clapp, son of Ed Clapp Jr. (for whom the park is named.) Clapp, a Beaumont Lakes resident for more than 25 years, said his family has wanted a school on the park site for several years.

“Now it will have its own neighborhood school. It’s just what we hoped for 30 years ago,” Clapp said.

The school district tentatively plans to open the school by fall 2015.

Park Board President Ron Sorvaag said board members asked the school district to push the new school as far into the southeast corner as possible to be closer to Bethel Church and to have a “smaller footprint” on the park.

The preliminary plan calls for a two-story, fourclassrooms-per-grade school for kindergarten through fifth-graders. It would hold 450 to 500 students.

While the Park Board used early renderings of the project to make its decision, Roger Gress, the park district’s executive director, acknowledged many aspects of the plan could change in the final design, such as the adjacent road and the walking path.

Gress said the park district’s financial director will work with the school district to create a usage agreement for the new school.

Readers can reach Forum reporter

Cali Owings at (701) 241-5599