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Group mulls all-day K options

Members of a West Fargo advisory group revisited options to create classroom space Tuesday evening as the School District prepares to offer all-day kindergarten.

Members of a West Fargo advisory group revisited options to create classroom space Tuesday evening as the School District prepares to offer all-day kindergarten.

At least four options, including a new kindergarten center, are being considered to support teaching 600 children.

"We're not limited to these" in case people have better ideas, School Board member Karen Nitzkorski told about 30 parents, businesspeople, teachers and administrators at the advisory meeting in the Lodoen Community Center. "These are just to get things started," she said of the four options.

An option to build a new kindergarten center - referred to as a "Super K" center - could cost about $9 million, District Business Manager Mark Lemer said.

The new center would total 68,500 square feet, with 33 classrooms and a gymnasium. The location has yet to be determined.

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Other options include:

- Renovating the Lodoen Center and removing several tenants for classroom space.

- Building an addition to the existing Kindergarten Center, 330 3rd Ave. E.

- Building an addition onto Aurora Elementary, 3420 9th St. W.

West Fargo police Capt. Mike Reitan said his department is concerned the proposal to renovate the Lodoen Center may affect student safety because of other building tenants. The West Fargo Public Library is also housed in the Lodoen center.

School Board members voted last month to make all-day kindergarten available to all students starting next fall. The decision spurred the advisory group's formation and meetings to decide where to teach the kindergartners.

Parent and advisory board member Tanya Russiff said she favors an option that would call for building half of a new kindergarten center. She said she also wants to see some kindergartners attend schools near their homes.

Russiff, a Harwood resident, said some parents moved to smaller communities such as Harwood and hoped their children would be taught in small-school environments.

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District officials hope to have the new facilities in place by fall 2009 to keep up with enrollment growth.

Lemer said the district projects that recent rises in Cass County birthrates and new residents are affecting student numbers.

The next advisory group meeting is slated for 6:30 p.m. Dec. 6 in the Lodoen Center, 109 3rd St. E.

Readers can reach Forum reporter Benny Polacca at (701) 241-5504

Group mulls all-day K options Benny Polacca 20071128

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