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District to seek bids for $5 million in Qualified School Construction Bonds

If all goes as planned, some much-needed West Fargo School District housekeeping can move forward in the near future.

On Monday, the West Fargo School Board unanimously approved the advertisement of bids on $5 million in Qualified School Construction Bonds.

Business Manager Mark Lemer said the Planning and Development Committee identified roughly $5.3 million in projects the funding could be allocated toward. The committee also plans for an additional $5.1 million in projects to be paid for by a one-time supplemental fund.

Lemer said the "big-ticket item" the QSC Bonds would cover is the proposed construction of eight classrooms onto the Osgood Kindergarten Center. The plan is projected to cost approximately $2.2 million. According to a list of the projects, the addition would "be used for growth in kindergarten and could help alleviate overcrossing at Aurora Elementary by locating additional first grade classrooms at (Osgood)."

Other potential projects for the QSC Bonds include:

• A $1,066,800 receiving and food service addition at West Fargo High School, where "auxiliary spaces ... for storage and receiving for the building and for Food Service are limited."

• $816,000 for administrative office additions at the Leidal Education Center.

• District-wide repairs and upgrade, such as sidewalk and roof replacements, parking lot improvements, lighting, wall coverings, security systems, etc., which is estimated to cost $500,000.

• $373,000 for a generator addition at the high school, which would "provide backup power for technology, and would also provide the capacity to reduce the building load to the electrical grid during peak usage curtailments."

• $360,000 for the 12-acre land purchase for a proposed elementary school site, located west of Veteran's Boulevard and north of 32nd Ave. S.

Lemer said proposed bids for the bonds would be available by the next school board meeting Nov. 22. Depending on what is bid for the bonds, he said, the district could receive more or less than $5 million.

With all the projects listed, Lemer said it is critical to get things moving, as funding requires that 10 percent of the $5 million be spent within the first six months. The entire amount must be spent within three years, he said.

"We need to start some of these projects moving forward," Lemer said. "It may require we do some force ranking, one versus the other."

So far, the Osgood Kindergarten center would get the nod, because it expresses the most pressing need and likely would take the longest time to complete, he said.

Also on Monday, the school board approved the district be allowed to bid for the purchase of three new school buses to replace those already in use. Another new bus also is needed, which would be used as a special needs bus.

The current buses in use are from 1995, and would garner between $800-$1,000 in trade-in value, Transportation Director Brad Redmond said.

New buses would cost approximately $80,000 apiece, while the special needs bus could cost between $85,000-$86,000.

Because it takes so long to get the ordered buses from the company, the district will not have to budget for their purchase until next school year.