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School board gets first look at next elementary school

In Monday’s meeting, the West Fargo School Board got its first look at its next elementary school — which will be built in the Wilds subdivision — courtesy of Julie Rokke from YHR Partners in Moorhead. The school will be located at the corner of 52nd Avenue and Ninth Street West.

The board unanimously approved the purchase of the 12-acre site in the Wilds during their Oct. 27 meeting. The cost of the land was $360,000, which was the same amount as the locations for the district’s previous two school sites: Freedom Elementary School, which opened in the fall of 2012, and Independence Elementary School, which will open in the fall of 2014.

The 550-student “Wilds” school will have a similar layout to that of the last few elementary schools in the district, with a few differences. Three color-coded academic pods surround the media center, with the commons and administrative offices located at the center of the building on the north side of the media center. The gymnasium and music rooms are located at the north end of the school, using the commons as a noise buffer between them and the standard classrooms.

The school’s theme centers around the colors blue, red and teal. The edges of the roof on the exterior will be lined in these colors.

“We’re looking for a way to make it look different from the other schools,” Rokke said.

Also, the media center will feature a bird theme in these colors, similar to the forest theme at Freedom Elementary. Large red and blue birds — made of plywood — will hang from the wood-deck ceiling, and the carpet will have a bird pattern in the school’s three colors.

The schools exterior will be a taupe color that is slightly darker than that of Independence Elementary, according to Rokke.

According to business manager Mark Lemer, the new school should cost roughly $10 million to build and should be completed in time for the fall of 2015.

In other action, the board:

*Unanimously approved a proposal to complete plans and specifications for generator upgrades throughout the district.

The Building Fund budget for the current school year includes $100,000 to bring district generators up to the new standards set by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency. The generators are used to manage the district’s peak control and energy curtailment, which provides significant energy savings.

MBN Engineering of Fargo did a preliminary evaluation of the current generators and offered to assist with the development of plans and specifications that enables the district to start taking bids on the project. MBN’s proposal provides for these services at a cost no higher than $7,500.

*Unanimously approved revisions to the district budget for the school year.

As it currently stands, the district’s revenue budget is $144,911,100, which is roughly $22.5 million higher than what was proposed when the initial budget was presented at the Aug. 12 board meeting.

The district’s total general fund for the 2013-2014 school year is $90,760,410.