The West Fargo School Board agreed to buy nearly 2 acres of land near the future Horace High School from BNSF Railroad at its meeting Monday, Aug. 26.

Business Manager Mark Lemer said owning the land would ease traffic congestion at the school sites and it would also allow for the district to expand its parking lot another 66 spots, if needed.

“If this building does grow to 1,500, there is always pressure for additional parking,” Lemer said.

The district will buy the 1.276 acres of land from the railroad for about $46,800.

“[The undeveloped land] would otherwise be a barrier to the high school and the main road that would connect us to County Road 17,” Lemer said.

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Lemer said the district looked at easements or whether the city of Horace or its Park Board would buy the land. However, BNSF Railroad preferred to sell the land rather than grant the easement.

Lemer said the city of Horace may consider buying the land in the future from the school district.

“They are looking for an additional right of way for Lakeview Drive,” Lemer said. “If they wanted to put in a walking path or biking path, this would give them enough room to do that.”

If the school didn’t acquire the land, all traffic would have to exit to the north and be routed on 79th Avenue, which will be the dividing line between the middle school and high school at the site.

“So all of the traffic would be coming out of the high school and middle school,” Lemer said.

Heritage Middle School will open in 2020 and construction on the high school will begin this spring.