New school drives expansion
A ninth-grade school being built in southern West Fargo is setting the pace for city road projects on undeveloped land. Workers are moving dirt and working on footings for the building at Ninth Street East and 40th Avenue South. Before the West F...
A ninth-grade school being built in southern West Fargo is setting the pace for city road projects on undeveloped land.
Workers are moving dirt and working on footings for the building at Ninth Street East and 40th Avenue South.
Before the West Fargo School District's $15.5 million ninth-grade center opens in fall 2007, the city plans to pave surrounding roads and rev up its sewer and water capabilities for the area.
"It's making us all stretch, there's no doubt about that, but in the end it's going to be quite good for certainly the School District but also the city," West Fargo Superintendent Chuck Cheney said.
To the south of the building site is West Fargo's new city limit and Fargo's Osgood housing development. To the north and east are gravel roads and fields.
This summer, West Fargo will pave Ninth Street from 32nd Avenue to 40th Avenue at a cost of about $1.2 million.
The city is working on a cost-sharing agreement with Fargo for the road, which Fargo calls 57th Street, said West Fargo City Engineer Kevin Bucholz.
West Fargo will build a sanitary lift station near the school and a force main west to Sheyenne Street for about$1.2 million, he said.
Work could be finished by fall on a 1.5-million-gallon water tower that will serve about half of West Fargo south of I-94. It will cost about $2.2 million, Bucholz said.
Next year, West Fargo will pave 32nd Avenue from Sheyenne Street to Ninth Street for another $1.2 million.
While the construction projects were planned as the area developed anyway, the new school is pushing them along because it's the first to come to the area, West Fargo City Administrator Jim Brownlee said.
"Certainly the timing is geared toward the school," he said.
West Fargo Mayor Rich Mattern believes the school's presence will spur other development in the area. He said a housing development could start in the area this summer.
"You build a school and they will start developing around it," Mattern said.
Meanwhile, the North Dakota Department of Transportation continues to plan an Interstate 94 overpass on Ninth Street.
The state is preparing to acquire land for the project, relocate utilities and pile up dirt for construction.
Officials aren't sure yet when the access ramps will be completed, but the overpass is scheduled for completion a year after the school opens.
"We need to have that in by 2008, because of the school down there," said Dave Leftwich, a local government engineer for the state Department of Transportation in Bismarck.
For the first year the school is open, people who need to drive over Interstate 94 on their way to the school will either need to drive east to 45th Street or west to Sheyenne Street.
"It's going to be an inconvenience, but we're planning for it," Cheney said.
Because the estimated 450 students at the school will be ninth-graders, Cheney said few will drive to school. Students will be encouraged to take the bus.
"If we could do anything, we would have liked that interchange in a year earlier," Cheney said. "But you know what, we're going to be just fine."
Readers can reach Forum reporter Andrea Domaskin at (701) 241-5556