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Helmut Schmidt, Published March 11 2014

Fargo School Board accepts $13.1 million in bids for new elementary school in Ed Clapp Park

FARGO – The Fargo School Board voted 7-0 Tuesday to accept $13.14 million in bids to build an elementary school in Ed Clapp Park in the Bluemont Lakes neighborhood.

With fees and funds set aside for contingencies, the total project cost tops $15.6 million.

The 83,500-square-foot building will have 25 classrooms for grades kindergarten through five. One extra classroom is being built to handle overflow, board member Rick Steen said.

It also will have two music rooms, an art room and three team centers.

Superintendent Jeff Schatz said overcrowding in the district’s southside schools, particularly Kennedy Elementary, pointed to the need for space for ancillary programs.

“It’s a good move for the district and provides us a blueprint for the future if we do have to build another elementary,” Schatz said.

The school will be bigger than a West Fargo School District elementary planned for “The Wilds” subdivision. That school is expected to be about 72,162 square feet, Steen said.

A good share of that difference in size is tied to the lack of music, art or team center rooms in the West Fargo School, Steen said.

The Fargo school also will have wider corridors and bigger classrooms.

The district needs to build quality buildings because some of Fargo’s schools have been in use for as many as 100 years, board member Robin Nelson said.

The school will cost $162.86 per square foot if site improvements are included.

Site improvements such as stabilizing the soil, irrigating soccer fields as part of the deal with the Park District to obtain the land, replacing Park District storage and bathrooms, and replacing parking for the nearby Carlson Library, are $9.41 per square foot of the cost.

Minus site improvements, the cost per square foot of the building is $153.45. That’s $4 more per square foot than the smaller West Fargo school, Steen said.

In other business, the board learned that the total cost for the heating and air-conditioning upgrades at six elementary schools will come in well under estimates.

The construction cost plus fees for heating, ventilation and air conditioning work at Madison, McKinley, Lewis and Clark, Clara Barton, Roosevelt and Horace Mann schools is $11,006,123.66. That’s $1.3 million less than the original estimate, and $1.2 million less after some fees were renegotiated, Lietz said.

All six of the schools were closed for several days late last summer when a heat wave hit at the start of the school year. None had air conditioning.

Board members Paul Meyers and Linda Boyd were not present for the vote.

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