Helmut Schmidt, Published November 12 2013
Moorhead School Board approves building additions, facilities studiesMOORHEAD – The School Board voted 7-0 Tuesday to approve about $9 million in additions to two elementary schools and the Probstfield Center for Education, plus revamping the high school track and football field complex for another $1.54 million.
Board members also authorized a study to determine whether to build an addition for grades five and six onto Horizon Middle School, while turning all of the elementary schools into kindergarten through fourth-grade buildings.
The moves are part of nine facilities recommendations worked up by the board and committees the past few years, board President Lisa Erickson said.
“We’ve got a lot of work on the table now,” she said.
Projections indicate that Moorhead’s public schools will see enrollment grow more than 680 students in the next five years, Assistant Superintendent Wayne Kazmierczak said.
To handle that growth, the board approved:
• A $2.2 million 11,000-square-foot addition to Robert Asp Elementary School, with construction to start this spring.
• A $2.2 million to $2.5 million 11,000-square-foot addition to S.G. Reinertson Elementary School, with construction to start in spring 2015.
Both the Robert Asp and Reinertson projects will add gym space and other educational spaces.
• A $4.3 million 20,100-square-foot addition to the Probstfield Center for Education, with construction to start in the spring.
It would get eight classrooms and a gym.
• Replacing the Moorhead High School track and installing an artificial turf football/soccer field. Construction on the $1.54 million project will start this spring.
Building an artificial turf field will increase use of the facility, cut costs and free up the middle school soccer complex, Activities Director Dean Haugo said.
“It affects nearly every student in grades six through 12,” Haugo said.
The district will also:
• Explore the possibility of buying another parcel of land in the next two years for a school. Kazmierczak suggested buying a 40- to 80-acre site in the south or southeast part of the city.
• Seek voter approval between 2015 and 2017 for a fifth- and sixth-grade building addition to Horizon. If approved in 2017, it would come online in fall 2019.
If enrollment growth remains robust, another K-4 school may also be needed, Kazmierczak said.
• Put together a group to study the high school to determine if space there can hold programs now in the Sports Center.
• Explore alternatives to leasing space for the Red River Area Learning Center, Adult Basic Education, and other programs.
• Create a task force to develop a long-range facilities plan.
Readers can reach Forum reporter Helmut Schmidt at (701) 241-5583