A water park? A museum? A hotel? West Fargo seeks creative ideas for space near Sports Arena

The land owned by West Fargo Public Schools could be sold to the city to allow a developer to bring something new to the area.

A photo of a large rectangular building with "West Fargo Sports Arena" and "West Fargo Public Schools" on it.
The West Fargo Sports Arena, 520 32nd Ave. W.
David Samson / The Forum

WEST FARGO — When West Fargo Public Schools built the West Fargo Sports Arena in 2017, it left nearby land open for the possibility of adding a third sheet of ice.

Now that the district's Long Range Facilities Task Force has made it clear building the addition is not on the list of priorities for the near future, the school district is working with the city to determine a future for that area.

On Monday, March 6, the West Fargo City Commission approved publishing a request for proposals that will ask developers and imaginative entrepreneurs to offer ideas of what could be built in the open area west and south of the West Fargo Sports Arena and The Lights on Sheyenne complex.

In the request for proposals, the city said it will give preference to those that include a water feature, have a creative use of space, add outdoor amenities, provide youth/family interactive amenities, include an attraction like a destination museum or shopping area, have a walkable design and connectivity or maximize the commercial development along 32nd Avenue South.

An aerial view shows a large section of land north of 32nd Avenue West at Sixth Street West.
The city of West Fargo and West Fargo School District are partnering up to request proposals for the public owned land west of the West Fargo Sports Arena, 520 32nd Ave. W.
Contributed / City of West Fargo

West Fargo Public Schools Business Manager Levi Bachmeier said the school district and city leaders entered into a partnership agreement to begin the process of requesting proposals from private developers because the school district is prevented by North Dakota Century Code from entering into any public/private partnerships


The city, however, is not. In fact, the city has worked with private developers for many projects in recent years, such as building Sheyenne Plaza, Pioneer Place, The Firm and The Lights on Sheyenne.

Bachmeier said the district's long-range facilities task force decided that future ice needs should be "as cost effective as possible," and a partnership between the West Fargo Hockey Association and the West Fargo Park District to build a third sheet of ice at Veterans Memorial Arena is a better approach than the district adding a third sheet of ice at its own expense.

How the school district moves forward will depend on the type of proposals that are received and ultimately decided to be the best options for the area, Bachmeier said.

The school district does not intend to own or be a part-owner in commercial development, so it will likely sell the land. However, the school district would be willing to partner for use or rental of the space depending on what is built there.

"My hope is that we would need to transfer some amount of property if this moves forward," Bachmeier said.

Both the city and school district hope to increase the tax rolls with additional commercial space through the project.

Commissioner Mark Simmons said if a proposal is accepted for the area, it will take land owned by the school district and currently not taxed and put it onto the city's tax rolls while also adding value as another amenity in the city of West Fargo.

Proposals will be due to the city by 4:30 p.m. on May 12. A joint selection committee comprised of city and school officials will then review and select the proposal to be considered.


Readers can reach West Fargo editor Wendy Reuer at or 701-241-5530 . Follow her on Twitter @ForumWendy .

As the West Fargo editor, Wendy Reuer covers all things West Fargo for The Forum and oversees the production of the weekly Pioneer.
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