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Board names next school Independence Elementary

West Fargo’s next elementary school finally has a name.

In Monday’s meeting, the West Fargo School Board unanimously agreed to name the district’s next school Independence Elementary School.

The name ties in with the district’s two most recent schools: Liberty Middle School and Freedom Elementary School.

The district received 179 unique submissions from the community throughout September. Of those submissions, the top 16 were presented to the board during their Monday, Oct. 14, meeting. Board members were asked to individually rank the 16 selections, but were unable to reach an agreeable name.

That list of 16 names was condensed down to eight names for Monday’s meeting, and the board reached a consensus on Independence Elementary School.

“Independence” was the top choice amongst the board at their previous meeting, but the similarity to Minnesota’s Independent School District — along with the possible implication that the school was independent from the district — was a concern for some board members. That concern seemed to have dissipated by Monday night.

The remaining submissions in order of board ranking were Justice, Patriot, Courage, Dakota, Allegiance, Prairie Rose and Orion. “David Flowers Elementary School” was previously an option — one that had some momentum amongst a few members of the board — but that name was removed from consideration at the superintendent’s request.

The new school is currently under construction at 3700 54th Street South, and is set to open in the fall of 2014, with Mike Shea — who is currently the fifth-grade principal at Liberty Middle School — assuming the role as the school’s first principal.

In other action, the board:

* Unanimously approved the purchase of a 12-acre site in the Wilds subdivision for yet another elementary school, located immediately north of 52nd Avenue and west of Sheyenne Street. The cost of the land is $360,000, which is the same amount as the locations for the district’s previous two school sites. This school would open in the fall of 2015.

According to business manager Mark Lemer, the district will pay for the $12.1 project with the help of a $9.7 million school construction loan from the state, along with unused contingencies from the construction of Liberty Middle School and the first phase of Sheyenne High School and other “unobligated” funds.

Once the site is platted and developed, there should still be roughly 10 acres of land for construction, according to Lemer.

* Unanimously approved the purchase of high-grade radios, for use during an incident or emergency. The $230,090 project will equip the district’s kindergarten centers and elementary schools will one bank of six radios per site, and the middle and high schools with two banks of six radios per site. The Leidal Education Center, Lodoen Community Center and Bus Barn will also each have one bank of six radios. The purchase will be paid out of the district’s building fund.

Board president Kay Kiefer was not in attendance.