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W. Fargo board sets bond issue for February

February likely will be when voters in the West Fargo School District decide whether to fund the construction of a ninth-grade academy and elementary school.

February likely will be when voters in the West Fargo School District decide whether to fund the construction of a ninth-grade academy and elementary school.

On Monday, the West Fargo School Board's planning and development committee agreed that deadline gives the board enough time to plan and inform voters of why they should support such a tax.

"Public awareness of this project is crucial," said board member Angela Korsmo.

The full board is expected to approve the recommended timeline at its meeting Wednesday.

A February vote provides a tight, but attainable time span to open the ninth-grade academy in the fall of 2007, said Superintendent Chuck Cheney. Construction needs to begin in April 2006 to meet that deadline, he said.

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It gives the board about a year to develop building plans and award construction bids.

The board would like to model its campaign after the one that encouraged voters to overwhelmingly pass a $31 million bond issue for the Cheney Middle School and elementary school renovations in 2002.

West Fargo High School was built in 1987 for about 1,600 students. Four years from now, enrollment projections show there could be 1,800 students in grades nine through 12. There isn't room on the site to expand.

In August the board voted to build a school for ninth-graders south of Interstate 94. As the student population grows, that school could be expanded into the district's second high school.

Land hasn't been purchased yet for the secondary school.

The district also is experiencing tremendous growth in its elementary grades, primarily from students who move into the new developments of Osgood and Eagle Run.

The district owns land in both developments. One of those will be chosen as the site of a new elementary school slated to open as early as the fall of 2007.

Voters will be asked to approve a bond issue of between $15 million and $20 million for the two schools, school administrators have said.

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Readers can reach Forum reporter Erin Hemme Froslie at (701) 241-5534

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