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School Board accepts contract for next elementary school

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In Monday’s meeting, the West Fargo School Board unanimously approved a contract from YHR Partners of Moorhead for architectural and engineering design services for the school district’s tenth elementary school.

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The contract gives YHR Partners a five percent fee, which will be determined at the end of the design development phase.

The contract assumes that the new school will be largely based on similar design concepts used for Aurora, Freedom and the upcoming 54th St. Elementary Schools. If the district decides to overhaul the design of the next school -- shying away from the current design -- YHR Partners will be allowed to renegotiate the fee, as this is a slight deduction from their standard fee, according to district business manager Mark Lemer.

Under this contract, services provided will include electrical, mechanical and structural engineering along with general architectural services.

A design team will be selected by YHR Partners with input from district administration.

In other action, the board:

  • unanimously approved a final Certificate of Levy, although there may be minor adjustments made to the certificate before it is submitted on Thursday Oct. 10. Currently, the mill levies are based on a taxable valuation of roughly $204.3 million. With the approved proposal, the total number of mills levied will be 142.2, with 60 mills being used for general funds purposes. The total is 50 mills below the approved total from one year ago.
  • unanimously approved a proposed change to the district’s vision insurance coverage.

The district’s insurance committee suggests that the district maintain a reserve balance equal to three months of claims. As of this summer, however, they have stocked up a reserve of roughly 21 months. Because of this, they are able to enhance the benefits of their plan, using a fraction of this to negate the increased cost.

“We are well in excess of the suggested reserve,” Lemer said. “We looked at reducing premiums, but the committee asked ‘why don’t we look at changing the plan?’

Under the current plan, employees were allowed an eye exam every two years. With this upgrade, however, they will be allowed an exam annually. This is beneficial for those with corrective lenses, as they are required to have an annual exam in order to continue the use of their lenses.

This change will bring about a slight increase in the cost of plans. The district pays the full cost of single plans. If an employee wants a family plan, he or she must pay the difference - roughly $14.

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