Fargo school board to vote on new middle school Tuesday

Fargo School Board Superintendent Rupak Gandhi and Presiden Robin Nelson at board meeting Feb. 23. .JPG
Superintendent Rupak Gandhi and Fargo School Board President Robin Nelson at a board work session Friday, Feb. 21. C.S. Hagen / The Forum

FARGO — Fargo Public Schools administrators are recommending that school board members vote Tuesday, April 14, in favor of building a long-awaited new middle school near Davies High School.

The issue has been under discussion for nearly two years and has been stalled in part due to public worries of redrawing school boundaries, according to Superintendent Rupak Gandhi.

The proposed $58.5 million project would initially be a school with eighth and ninth grades and, if needed, could one day become a school for sixth through eighth grades. The project is not to exceed $60 million, according to a school board memo .

The board has unofficially decided to build the new school on land already owned by the school district, which is directly east of Davies High.


School Board President Robin Nelson said it would be “pure speculation” to offer her opinion on how the board will vote during its meeting that starts at 5:30 p.m. Tuesday.

“The recommendation from the administration is to approve it for securing bids, and this will be the time that the board decides if they’re going to build,” she said. “We need to get it going if we are going to do it, for construction purposes.”

Tuesday's meeting will be streamed live on the Fargo School Board's YouTube channel , and members will attend remotely through teleconference. Residents wishing to make public comments are encouraged to contact school board members via the form available on the board’s website .

Money to build a new school would come from the district's building fund, not its general operating fund, which is operating at a deficit this year, she said.

Change is necessary as Fargo Public Schools enrollment numbers are increasing and expected to exceed capacity within the next three years at Discovery Middle School and Davies High School, a Fargo Board of Education memo stated.

The district had 10,853 students in the 2014-2015 school year. This year there are 11,248 students, and that number is expected to rise to 11,781 by the 2024-2025 school year.

Overcrowding is expected by 2022 and 2023, Nelson said.

A task force was formed in 2018 to discuss secondary boundary changes to alleviate potentially exceeding capacity at the schools, but in late February board members reached a consensus to use district-owned land. Redrawing school district boundaries is not entirely off the discussion table, however, and is still a decision the board could make.


If the board agrees on building a new school, they have two options: a full build plan and a phased plan. The initial phase would be sized to accommodate about 735 students, but plans may change to allow space for future additions to the complex.

If built, the new school will share athletic fields and green space with Davies High School.

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