Moorhead voters pass referendum, the district moves forward

MOORHEAD, MN (Valley News Live) - Moorhead's school district is moving forward after voters approved a $110 million bond referendum that will fund the construction of a brand new high school and remodeling for a career academy.

With a timeline already laid out, the district needs to get a move on with planning and building.

Assistant Superintendent Tamara Uselman says the district woke up ready to work.

"Our first goal is to get the high school parking lots moved because that's where the construction of the new academic wing will be, the three-story academic wing, so that will be happening in the spring," Uselman said.

You heard that right, work will begin as early as spring 2020.

However, Superintendent Brandon Lunak says they have a lot of work to do with questions to answer when it comes to planning.

"We've got to get some financial work in order. We've got to get that on our December meeting to get the bond on the levee for the next school year. From there, then it goes to design work. It's going to be some intense planning terms of what the facility is going to look like. We kind of have a conceptual design of what it would look like, but we haven't done a lot of work on the inside," Lunak said.

From a piece of Moorhead’s history to a building representing innovation and a promising future, the new high school is expected to be built by 2024.

"What we are going to start doing is mapping out the work with more depth,” Uselman said. “Then once you move into it, to really make certain we deliver a high-quality building at or below budget. We are really committed to that."

Uselman tells us the $110 million will fund the demolition of the current high school, will build the new high school, and will convert what used to house Sam's Club into a career academy.

"What we did is take a look at the square foot that we would need to serve the number of students that we have and the kind of programs that we are talking about, and then we were able to determine the total amount of the bond package,” Uselman said. “At the same time, the career academy, the Sam's Club came up for purchase, and I would say that's a bargain of a decade."

Uselman says this saved them several million dollars and will allow them to stick within their budget as they build facilities that promote the growth our children need.

For more illustrations of the new high school and the timeline of construction, click here.