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Costs Associated with Building New WF School - Valley News Live - KVLY/KXJB - Fargo/Grand Forks

Costs Associated with Building New WF School

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Elementary schools in West Fargo will soon get some much needed relief.

Last night, the West Fargo School District approved plans to build a new school to get ahead of the population explosion.

It's a building that will cost at least $11 million, but a project that will come at a higher cost to those living in the school district.

Valley News Team's Hope Hanselman shows us what you're getting for your money.

"West Fargo is growing so much and the learning is better when the classes are smaller," Shannon Miller, a parents of children in the West Fargo Public School District, said.

The Miller family is feeling the effects of overcrowding in West Fargo schools.

"People kind of bug me sometimes when I try to work," Parker, a soon-to-be sixth grader, said of the crowded classrooms.

In five years, Parker has attended three different elementary schools.

"Aurora when it was first built for first grade and second, third and fourth at West Side, and Freedom (the new one) for fifth," he listed.

And soon to be four, he's starting 6th grade at Liberty in the Fall.

"I have four kids that have gone through West Fargo, and that's where I want to stay with my kids," Shannon said.

But, the problem doesn't end there. Parker's niece, Jaden, will start school in a few years. She's one of the hundreds of projected kindergartners the district is trying to keep up with.

"We don't have much choice," Dr. Dave Flowers, superintendent, said of the plans to build another elementary school. "We will exceed build capacity after the 54th street school, currently under construction, is completed in the Fall of 2014."

But, for little ones like Jaden, the future for the next generation of kids in the West Fargo School District is now a piece of farmland. Now, administrators are bracing for the costs of turning it into classrooms.

"Each facility that we build, of course, requires infrastructure. We need streets, sewers, curb, gutter...."

So, the $11 million school will come with some additional costs.

The costs of that infrastructure will be spread over the entire district, while employing another 24 teachers and another dozen staffers will stretch the budget even thinner.

"It does make the budget tight, but we've demonstrated that we've been able to do that. There hasn't been a year that we haven't granted raises," Flowers said.

And for parents, like Shannon, the payoff is well worth.

"I really wanted him to go to the new school, so when we found out we were going there, we were excited," she said.

The board approved the new building plans without voter approval, partly because they wouldn't be raising taxes to build the new school.

But, as construction starts for the 52nd Avenue elementary school, everyone living in the West Fargo School District will have to pay the fees associated with developing the neighborhood.

The school district's business manager says this is a cost just waiting to be paid, however. He says it's unavoidable with a growing city, those neighborhoods will eventually have to be developed.

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