FARGO — In an 8-1 vote, the Fargo School Board on Tuesday, June 23, authorized the city's public school district to purchase the R.D. Offutt corporate office for $7.3 million.
“That offer was accepted verbally and there is a purchase agreement that we’re seeking for the board to approve,” Superintendent Rupak Gandhi said. “Upon approval of that purchase agreement it will be executed and we will list the district office for sale.”
All office equipment in the R.D. Offutt building, 700 Seventh St. S., near Hawthorne Elementary, is included in the price, board members said. The current district office is the former Red Owl grocery store warehouse, and according to school board members, the district has outgrown the building.
R.D. Offut, an agricultural company, is a partner in the downtown Fargo Block 9 tower and plans to move its offices into the tower once complete.
Jackie Gapp, business manager for Fargo Public Schools, said money for the R.D. Offut building will come out of the district’s building fund, and will be secured with a million-dollar earnest money down payment, with the remainder to be paid on closing mid-winter.
When sold, the revenue from the current district office building will go back into the building fund to help offset the purchase of the building, said school district spokesperson AnnMarie Campbell.
Board member Jennifer Benson was the only dissenting vote as she wanted to include the sale of the Agassiz School building, which is where Woodrow Wilson High School is currently operating. Board members rejected her motion on the matter at their June 9 meeting, but they said they will revisit the issue at a later date.
The old Agassiz School building on Ninth Street South was built as a grade school in 1911, according to North Dakota State University Archives. In addition to holding Woodrow Wilson High School, the building also holds other special education programs, the Indian Ed program, Adult Ed and the Early Childhood Special Education program.