August 8, 2012

Board finalizes plans for new $11 million elementary school

By Lauren Billing
Farmer Staff Writer

Improvements for the Watford City Elementary School are now set to get underway. Last Tuesday night, the McKenzie County School District No. 1 school board finalized plans presented by Construction Engineers, the district’s construction manager, in conjunction with ICON, an architecture firm based out of Grand Forks, for an $11 million elementary school.
While the original estimate for the new school was $8 million, the school board decided that more was needed, and approved an additional $3 million in funds for the project.
The elementary school will be enlarged by 32,000 square feet, which will include four new kindergarten classrooms, a library, a gym with approximately 900 seating capacity and a new kitchen and cafeteria.
In addition to the construction, improvements will also be made to the current building. The bathrooms, hallways and classrooms will all receive some level of renovation. The administration and special education areas will see improvements as well, and a new vestibule will greet students, parents and visitors.
“This will tremendously increase what we can do for our students,” says Steve Holen, District No. 1 superintendent. “Having a higher quality building will allow us to continue to provide core academics as well as more extracurricular opportunities.”
Pam Ramage, vice president of the school board, also sees the plans as a way to match the district’s first-class education with a first-class facility.
“I am very excited for the opportunity that this will bring to our district,” says Ramage. “It is incredible that the oil field activity has afforded us the opportunity to make these improvements. I am most excited about the kindergarten wing and the library and how many more students we can accommodate.”
Construction Engineers will begin to break ground next week, following the ceremonial ground breaking held yesterday morning. All construction and renovation is scheduled to be completed by August 2013, before the beginning of the 2013-2014 school year.
These additions will certainly provide students with much more room to explore new books, play new games during Miss T’s gym class and even have elbow space during lunch.