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Forum editorial: West Fargo schools on a roll

A drive through the sprawling West Fargo School District this spring reveals a flurry of school construction that comes as a result of voter approval a few months ago of a building levy. The money is being used as voters intended. New buildings, ...

A drive through the sprawling West Fargo School District this spring reveals a flurry of school construction that comes as a result of voter approval a few months ago of a building levy. The money is being used as voters intended. New buildings, building improvements and renovations, and athletic fields are taking shape. Weather has been unusually warm and dry, so construction that might have been stalled by spring snow or even flooding got under way in winter and has accelerated this spring.

The work is a response to growth in the district's enrollment and acreage. As West Fargo has developed south of Interstate 94, the need for more schools became clear. A sometimes raucous debate during the past few years centered on the usual concerns: how many new schools; where should they be located; a new high school, yes or no; middle school configurations.

The first run at a building levy fell short by a small margin. The second try was successful. In the interim, the district changed superintendents and had a lively school board election. The school building plan was adjusted to better reflect school patrons' concerns and priorities. The new super and the board did a better job of informing voters about how the new plan would address the district's growing enrollment and space needs.

The results thus far are impressive. The expanded Kindergarten Center on Veterans Boulevard has to be one of the most impressive facilities of its kind in the region. Work on converting the ninth-grade academy to a second high school is under way. A new school is rising from the prairie near the Sheyenne River south of the interstate. This week, the board voted to add 24 new teachers to the system, yet another sign of the growth in the student population.

All in all, West Fargo schools are changing to meet the education needs of one of the fastest-growing school districts in the state. The goal of the board and administration remains as focused as in the past: maintain and enhance the quality of classroom education. The improvements in the district are doing precisely that.

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Forum editorials represent the opinion of Forum management and the newspaper's Editorial Board.

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