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Plans in motion to add new middle and high school in south Fargo

The Fargo School Board approved the reading of a 10-year, long-range plan to add more schools to south Fargo.

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FARGO — The Fargo School Board is looking at plans to add a new middle and high school in south Fargo.

At the Tuesday, Sept. 13, school board meeting, the board approved the reading of an update to their 10-year, long-range plan. The plan, which is reviewed annually, helps the district disperse enrollment across the schools to prevent overcrowding.

The plan outlines enrollment projections for the coming years, and population growth in the metro area is challenging Fargo Public Schools. The plan includes numerous suggestions to meet rising enrollment that, once the plan is approved, will serve as a guide for facility decisions.

"We are at capacity or even approaching capacity in many of our buildings in the south end of our district, despite instituting redistricting and things like this in recent times," Fargo School Board President Dr. Tracie Newman said.

South Fargo is the the main focus of the plan due to significant growth in that area. The plan includes a middle school to feed into Davies High School, along with a high school west of Interstate 29.

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Newman says a new elementary school, middle school and high school will be needed in south Fargo in the next 10 years. The next steps are to meet with real estate agents and lawyers to finalize land purchases.

Any newly purchased land will likely be located west of I-29 for a future elementary and high school site, according to the long-range facility plan.

"What was proposed ... was a little unorthodox, but I believe (we need) to be thinking outside the box and coming up with creative solutions when these are the kind of numbers we are facing in such a quick period of time," Newman said.

In an attempt to alleviate overcrowding, a boundary change to help redistribute students was recently approved for Discovery Middle School and Davies High School, the results of which will need to be carefully monitored to ensure success, according to the long-range facility plan.

Also facing near-capacity enrollment is Bennett Elementary School.

The district owns land on 76th Avenue South that could be turned into a new elementary school. However, the plan noted, development on the land is not "economically feasible" until the Fargo-Moorhead Diversion Projec t is finished.

The plan says enrollment numbers at Bennett Elementary will need to be closely monitored alongside the Diversion timeline, because the school is projected to exceed capacity levels in the next four years.

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