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School board approves nearly $7.6 million in district-wide construction projects

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The West Fargo High School pilot guitar class opened Monday's school board meeting with an acoustic version of Beethoven's "Ode to Joy." Fitting, as administration, staff and students should be overjoyed from the meeting's eventual results.

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The board unanimously approved the Planning and Development's suggestion of moving forward with seven projects that will cost an estimated $7.6 million.

There were a dozen projects to choose from, but Business Manager Mark Lemer said the seven were a starting point.

"We're moving the seven forward," he said. "It doesn't mean we're scrapping the other five."

All the projects will be funded by One-Time Supplemental and Qualified School Construction Bonds. The projects needed approval so they could have the chance of hopefully being completed before next school year, Lemer said.

The school board approved the following projects:

• The addition of eight classrooms to the Osgood Kindergarten Center, at an estimated cost of nearly $2.2 million. The construction would include an additional computer lab, as well as smaller offices, Lemer said.

• A nearly $1.1 million Osgood Kindergarten Center gymnasium addition would provide much-needed space for physical education and other large-group activities.

• Fitness center additions and improvements at West Fargo High School could cost nearly $2 million, Lemer said. This would include expansion of the current weight room, classroom relocations and training center construction.

• Cheney Middle School will see physical education and athletic site improvements at an estimated cost of approximately$456,000. These would include the construction of a six-lane track, with a football field in the center, Lemer said. Bleachers, a scoreboard, and irrigation also would be added, he said.

• West Fargo High School would get approximately $770,000 to renovate floor and wall coverings throughout the facility. Lemer said the commons area would be hit, as well as flooring in the 1993 addition, and improvement to restrooms on the main floor.

• The high school also would get a larger generator, a critical move as it is the central hub of the district's electronic network, Lemer said. The generator, which will be relocated from Aurora, would power everything except the chillers. Without the $373,000 addition, "We are jeopardizing the network," Lemer said.

• Administration and staff currently holed-up in a rented facility near the Leidal Education Center will finally get to be under one roof with those already housed in the building. An estimated $816,000 office addition at LEC not only will add office space, but will add training and meeting space, Lemer said.

He also noted that the district has three years to use all

$5 million of the Qualified School Construction Bonds, so there is ample time to finish the remaining projects. Those include: Bus Barn renovations, Tintes Building remodel, high school food service renovations, miscellaneous district-wide renovations, and the decommissioning of Berger Track.

The board also approved that the architecture design firm YHR Partners get the nod to help with planning and specifications. YHR is no stranger to West Fargo, having helped with planning on the Osgood Kindergarten Center and the '93 high school addition.

Tyler Shoberg is Sports Editor of the Pioneer. He can be reached at 701-451-5717 or tshoberg@westfargopioneer.com.

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