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Helmut Schmidt, Published April 24 2014

Officials break ground for church, school in West Fargo

WEST FARGO - About 250 people crowded into the bus barn of Holy Cross Church Thursday to celebrate the groundbreaking for a new Holy Cross site and Trinity Elementary School.

"It's an amazing occasion and we're so happy we've come to this point," Bishop John Folda of the Fargo Catholic Diocese said.

"There's a lot of work yet to be done, but we're moving. It's exciting," Folda told the crowd, after they had witnessed the ceremonial turning of the earth with shovels, as well as Folda's turn at the controls of a Komatsu excavator, taking his bite out of the soil of the site at 2820 Bluestem Drive, just west of Veterans Boulevard.

The 76,000 square feet of combined Holy Cross Church and Trinity Elementary will be built on 12 acres about a half mile south of Interstate 94 and an eighth of a mile west of Veterans Boulevard in an area of West Fargo that's quickly being filled with homes, businesses and apartment complexes.

Folda said Trinity will be the first expansion of the Blessed John Paul II Catholic Schools Network in decades.

Michael Smith, the head of the JPII network, said the school will be able to hold 300 to 350 children ages 3 years through fifth grade.

"We have little doubt that in three or four years it will be full," Smith said.

Smith said the fund-raising goal for the project was $19.2 million, which will also include work at Shanley and Sullivan schools. He said $10.2 million has been raised so far.

Work on the school is expected to be done by next July. The church will be finished sometime after that, officials have said.

The school is about 50,000 square feet, the church is about 26,000 square feet.

The Rev. James Meyer at Holy Cross said the new church will have a main sanctuary that can seat about 1,000, double the space available now. Holy Cross has almost tripled in size since the mid-1990s. It now serves about 1,300 families, Meyer said.

The church and school will share an adjoining kitchen and dining area.


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

West Fargo Pioneer Assistant Editor Wendy Reuer contributed to this report.