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District breaks ground on new school, looks at policy for renaming facilities

Dignitaries including West Fargo Mayor Rich Mattern, from left, N.D. Sen. Judy Lee, Superintendent David Flowers and School Board President Kay Kiefer participate in a ceremonial groundbreaking on Monday for Legacy Elementary School at the intersection of Ninth Street East and 52nd Avenue South. Photo by Michael Vosburg

A crowd of school leaders and staff descended on the area of 5150 9th St. W. in West Fargo to lift out the first shovelful of dirt on Legacy Elementary School on Monday.

The one-story, $12.1 million school will be built on the 12-acre lot the school district bought in the Wilds subdivision, which is south of Interstate 94.

Legacy will become the district’s 10th elementary school and the fourth to be built in seven years. It is expected to open to students in the fall of 2015.

“Legacy will look very similar to Aurora, Freedom and Independence,” Community Relations Coordinator Heather Konschak said. “We reused (the design) to save some money on the architect fees so it was a nice cost-savings for us.”

Liberty Middle School just wrapped up its first school year full of students after Freedom Elementary opened in the fall of 2012.

The three latest schools were all named throughout a process of soliciting suggestions from the public. The district created a policy for naming schools in early 2013 that gives the school board the final authority to name a school but sets general guidelines for names. For instance, to name a school after a person, they must have a significant long-term relationship with the district and any nominee must be retired or gone from the district for at least two years before given consideration.

Facilities can be named in honor of a financial contribution from a business or community member but the financial contribution must be at least 25 percent of the cost of the project.

Due to the fast pace growth and large number of facilities now in the district, the school board has been considering drafting a policy on how to rename a facility.

“We have a policy – one we’ve used quite often– to name new facilities but now we want to make sure we have something on the books in case of a rename,” Konschak said.

The school board discussed a renaming policy on Monday meeting but tabled the matter until its next regular meeting.

Wendy Reuer

Wendy reports for The Forum and West Fargo Pioneer, where she is also assistant editor. A University of Minnesota Morris graduate from North Dakota, Wendy started her career in television news and entertainment in Minnesota and at CBS in Television City, Calif. before working at newspapers in Minnesota and North Dakota. 

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