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Helmut Schmidt, Published December 09 2013

West Fargo board gets its first look at renderings of next elementary school

WEST FARGO – The West Fargo School Board on Monday got its first look at architects’ renderings of what the district’s next elementary school will look like.

The 550-student school, designed by YHR Partners of Moorhead, is planned for The Wilds subdivision on a 12-acre plot just north of 52nd Avenue South and west of Ninth Street West.

Julie Rokke, one of YHR’s principal partners, said the school will in some ways be similar to West Fargo’s Aurora and Freedom elementary schools, but with important differences.

The three academic pods will surround the media center on three sides. Co-located with the media center will be special education and art classrooms, Rokke said.

The commons/lunch area is on the fourth side of the media center, with the music room and gymnasium on the opposite side of the commons to cut down on sound affecting classrooms, Rokke said.

The school will cost about $10 million to build, but about $11.73 million altogether with professional fees and furnishings, Business Manager Mark Lemer said.

Lemer said the district hopes to start construction about May 1. The school is planned to open in fall 2015.

Rokke said the plat is being drawn by Moore Engineering of West Fargo. Once the plat is drawn, a request for city services, including the construction of 50th Avenue South on the north side of the property, and Ninth Street West on the east side of the property, can be made.

Lemer told the school board that contractors will have to help maintain 52nd Avenue South, which is still a gravel road, until it is upgraded to asphalt, probably in 2016.

The school district expects to open Independence Elementary School at 3700 54th St. S. in Fargo in fall 2014.

In other business, the board:

- Was given the co-curricular costs for the 2012-13 school year.

The report, presented by Activities Director Curt Jones, showed girls’ hockey as the most expensive sport per student, after any revenues are collected, at $1,070.82 per participant.

It was followed by speech at $968.10 per student; cheerleading at $928.15 per student; softball at $828.67 per student; and girls’ golf at $703.29 per student.

Boys’ hockey was ranked No. 4 at $851.20 per student before revenues. However, almost $10,000 in revenues cut the cost per student to $574.59, dropping the sport to 10th place in activities costs.

The least expensive activities were girls’ tennis at $159.20 per student, and cross country (both boys and girls) at $196.64 per student.

Ice time at $17,624 for girls’ hockey and $26,486.25 for boys’ hockey was not included in the cost comparison because other sports don’t have facilities costs figured into their totals, Jones said.

- Voted 7-0 to approve hiring MBN Engineering for $7,500 to create plans and specifications for upgrades to the backup generators at Cheney Middle School and West Fargo High School.

The upgrades, expected to cost about $100,000, are required by new Environmental Protection Agency standards.

Readers can reach Forum reporter

Helmut Schmidt at (701) 241-5583