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Fargo's newest private school, Capstone Classical Academy, 'swamped' with preparations ahead of first day

The future site of the school is not yet built, so the school is opening in two locations for Pre-K through sixth grade students.

A blue and gold sign advertising for Capstone Classical Academy outside a brown building.
Capstone Classical Academy’s main building, which will house pre-k through third grade, is pictured Friday, Aug. 26, 2022, at 3910 25th St. S., Fargo.
Michael Vosburg / The Forum
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FARGO — When Capstone Classical Academy begins classes Monday, Aug. 29, they will be nearly at capacity with over 100 students enrolled.

Headmaster Paul Fisher said in a voicemail that the school is “swamped” with preparations ahead of the first day and that “things are going well here, and we’re bursting at the seams.”

With an original goal of 120 students, the area’s newest private school had 114 students enrolled in Pre-K through sixth grade as of Thursday, Aug. 25, said spokeswoman June Nygard.

Each year, the academy plans to add a grade to its roster, ending with twelfth grade before 2030. The goal by that time is to have at least 560 students enrolled in pre-K-12 classes.

The academy will begin with two locations: The south campus at 3910 25th St. S. will hold administration and Pre-K through third grade. The north campus at 2506 35th Ave. S. will hold fourth through sixth grades, Nygard said.

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A blue and gold sign advertising for Capstone Classical Academy outside a white building.
Capstone Classical Academy’s 4-6th grade site is pictured Friday, Aug. 26, 2022, at 2506 35th Ave., Fargo.
Michael Vosburg / The Forum

“Both spaces have been remodeled, and they are unrecognizable from what it looked like before, very student-oriented,” she said.

The permanent home of Capstone Classical Academy, a religious and tuition-based school, will be built on 18 acres at the corner of 43rd Street and 64th Avenue South. Current plans have slated the new school to open in the fall of 2024, Nygard said.

The private academy is being designed by Duncan G. Stroik Architect of South Bend, Indiana, and a building contract has been signed with Fargo-based Gehrtz Construction Services.

The project will be broken up into two phases, the first being a 77,000-square-foot educational building with classrooms, a gym, chapel and outdoor athletic field, according to the academy.

Architectural design of Capstone Classical Academy.jpg
Architectural design of Capstone Classical Academy.
Special to The Forum

Fundraising efforts are ongoing, but the academy is not releasing any funding information publicly yet, Nygard said.

The school will offer a "classical education," which for the founders means the "cultivation of wisdom and virtue through the study of liberal arts," a philosophy that is Christian and rooted in ancient Greek education methods.

Capstone Classical Academy is a nonprofit organization registered with the North Dakota Secretary of State. It is also reported as the first private classical school affiliated with Hillsdale College as a K-12 Member School, according to its website. The affiliation is currently free of charge, Fisher said in 2021.

Hillsdale College will provide faculty, staff and board members with annual training on classical education and will provide curriculum along with ongoing support, visits and evaluations, according to a press release from Capstone.

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Hillsdale College is a private college of 1,400 students in southern Michigan that describes itself as a conservative liberal arts “nonsectarian Christian” school. U.S. Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas likened Hillsdale to a “shining city on a hill” for its devotion to “liberty as an antecedent of government, not a benefit from government,” according to The New York Times .

“We’re just thrilled with the enrollment and the reception that the community has given to Capstone,” Nygard said, adding there will be coffee and doughnuts available for parents on the academy’s first day of school.

A window is printed with the logo and contact information for Capstone Classical Academy
Capstone Classical Academy’s main entrance is pictured Friday, Aug. 26, 2022, at 3910 25th St. S., Fargo.
Michael Vosburg / The Forum

C.S. Hagen is an award-winning journalist currently covering the education and activist beats mainly in North Dakota and Minnesota.
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