MOORHEAD — U.S. Sen. Tina Smith, D-Minn., made stops in Moorhead on Friday, May 7, including a visit to a fire station where infrastructure was the topic of discussion, as well as a tour of the career academy underway in a former Sam's Club building in south Moorhead.

The infrastructure discussion included a railroad underpass planned for 11th Street in downtown Moorhead, a $107 million project that is hoping to receive $25 million in federal funds.

Smith also received an update on the Fargo-Moorhead metro flood diversion project, which Smith said could someday be a model for future large projects around the country.

U.S. Sen. Tina Smith, D-Minn., on Friday, May 7, tours the Moorhead Career Academy which is under construction in the space formerly home to a Same's Club. The academy is expected to be completed this fall. David Olson / The Forum
U.S. Sen. Tina Smith, D-Minn., on Friday, May 7, tours the Moorhead Career Academy which is under construction in the space formerly home to a Same's Club. The academy is expected to be completed this fall. David Olson / The Forum

Smith's Moorhead visit was part of a multi-city tour she has embarked on to highlight President Joe Biden's American Jobs Plan, which aims to invest in building and upgrading infrastructure across the country, including Minnesota cities and counties.

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Among officials attending Smith's fire station stop in Moorhead Friday was Fargo Mayor Tim Mahoney, who mentioned a number of infrastructure issues looming on Fargo's horizon, including demolition of the Lashkowitz High Rise at 101 Second St. S. in Fargo

She said people may not know about those statistics, but Smith said people do understand whether they can get to jobs or schools safely and whether or not they have access to things like high-speed internet.

"That's what this (jobs plan) is about, those kinds of investments," Smith said, adding that people are talking about infrastructure everywhere she goes.

Smith also toured the Moorhead Career Academy under construction in the space that used to be home to a Sam's Club at 2800 27th Ave. S. in Moorhead.

With roughly 174,000 square feet of space, the building was initially constructed with more than 100 skylights, many of which have been preserved to help bring natural light into the building, Smith was told as she made her way through the structure.

According to school officials and architects working on the project, the building has spaces large enough to accommodate everything from a large agricultural tractor to an airplane fuselage.

A Moorhead Career Academy is being created inside of an old Sam’s Club store on Friday, May 7, 2021, located at 2800 27th Ave. S., Moorhead.
Alyssa Goelzer / The Forum
A Moorhead Career Academy is being created inside of an old Sam’s Club store on Friday, May 7, 2021, located at 2800 27th Ave. S., Moorhead. Alyssa Goelzer / The Forum

Jeremy Larson, assistant superintendent for learning and accountability at Moorhead Area Public Schools, told Smith the academy will actually be a collection of eight academies, each focusing on a different area of training.

He said the plan will be to offer Ninth graders something of a social and emotional academy that will help students find their strengths and weaknesses and guide them toward additional academies that will best suit them.

Smith said helping students decide what they will do after high school is an important part of what schools can provide and she said things like career academies can play a large role in that guidance.

"It's all about fit," Smith said.

The Moorhead Career Academy is expected to be completed by this fall.