By Fargo Public Schools Business Services Manager Broc Lietz
Project #1: Eagles Elementary
One of the exciting things this year for Fargo Public Schools is the opening of Eagles Elementary. Over the past 15 months, the former Eagles facility on South University Drive underwent a transformation that saw a remodel of the existing facility along with a significant addition that encompasses 11 classrooms, a gymnasium, administration offices, a kitchen and commons areas, and additional ancillary spaces to make this a three-section, K–5 elementary school that serves up to 400 students.
The Eagles “Aces” opened their doors on August 25, 2016 to begin the new school year as the latest addition to the multitude of school buildings that make up Fargo Public Schools, which now includes 15 elementary schools, three middle schools, and one alternative and three comprehensive high schools.
The overall construction of Eagles Elementary went very smoothly as the District again received great cooperation from the City of Fargo early on in the process to address flood mitigation concerns. The District’s decision to vacate the existing building for the duration of construction made the project much easier to complete on-time and under budget. This project is another great example of community partnerships that exits between the School District and the city as it is another in-fill project that meets specific needs within the infrastructure of both the city and the School District. As with any new construction project, there were final punch list items to address accompanied by the anxiousness of wondering if everything would be ready for the first day of classes. However, Principal Tanya Wrigley-Lingle and her entire staff, along with FPS Maintenance & Operations Director Jim Frueh and his staff, made sure the doors were ready to open on the big day when the students arrived.
Project #2: Operations Center
Another ongoing construction project is the new District Operations Center located on 38th Street and 40th Avenue South. As reported previously, Fargo Public Schools, in partnership with the City of Fargo and the Cass County Joint Rural Water District, underwent a buyout and relocation agreement for the District’s central warehouse facility, currently located downtown, as part of the city’s flood mitigation work being completed on 2nd Street in downtown Fargo.
The new Operations Center will not only provide the District with replacement space for our existing operations of the central kitchen, warehouse, and trades, it will also bring the print shop and grounds department into this facility with the investment of additional funds. This relocation will provide operational efficiency by having all of these District functions under one roof in a location that is easily accessible for both our internal delivery and distribution efforts and external suppliers to the warehouse and central kitchen.
The Operations Center is scheduled for a Certificate of Occupancy in July 2017; however, construction efforts are ahead of schedule, which may allow for transition to the new facility beginning as early as January 2017. Crucial to this move-in is assuring there is no “down time” for either the central kitchen or the print shop as we strive to meet the needs of the individual buildings and more than 11,200 students during the school year. Plans are in place for a phased moving schedule to make a smooth transition from current to new facilities when the time comes.
Long Range Facility Plan
As we annually review the District’s Long Range Facilities Plan, the completion of these two projects nearly brings to an end the original planning for capital construction. Fargo Public Schools continues to look for opportunities to purchase land in south Fargo as a proactive step for future growth of both the city and the District; however, there is nothing imminent on the horizon in this regard. Fargo Public Schools will continue to work with city leaders regarding what they see as the steps toward development of infrastructure in that portion of our city.