July 15, 2014

Ground-breaking planned for new school

By Stephanie Allums
Farmer Staff Writer

The McKenzie County School District No. 1 and JLG Architects are looking to close the design and development stages of the new Watford City High School on Tuesday, July 22.
Last week, the architects and members of the school board discussed many minor changes to the design of the high school building and site. JLG is also hoping to have the footing and foundation package complete and ready by the end of the month.
The Ground-Breaking Ceremony for the new Watford City High School is scheduled for 3 p.m. on Monday, July 21, at the site within the Fox Hills development.
The new high school will consist of a lower level, main level and upper level.
A few details were being hashed out regarding the cafeteria and kitchen. There were a couple individuals on the school board that were not completely satisfied with the plans.
“After meeting and discussing further details about the kitchen and cafeteria, everyone feels a lot better about moving forward with the plans,” Holen said.
There will be round tables throughout the center of the cafeteria and bench seat-type booths along the exterior walls. There will be an overhang overlook from the upper level of the school, which will look into the cafeteria.
The classroom wing will utilize equipment from the existing high school that is still in good condition, according to the school board members.
The media room will be large enough to hold two classes.
“The idea is to have a college-like atmosphere,” Superintendent Steve Holen said. “They will probably have plug-ins on the tables for laptop computers.”
The library will feature large windows with tables for sightseeing. And there will be a computer lab within the library.
Details regarding the high school gymnasium are on hold because they are waiting to hear exactly what the city plans on doing with the gymnasium within the city’s Events Center building, which will be located across the lawn on the same site as the high school.
According to JLG Architects, there will be some areas built into the school to accommodate future expansion or enhancements.
JLG Architects, along with high school project representatives and the Watford City Events Center representatives, discussed details regarding the site.
The City of Watford City will own the future Events Center, but the Watford City Parks and Recreation Department will run the operations of the building. At times, the students attending the new Watford City High School plan to utilize the Events Center facility.
The representatives were also hashing out security and access issues between the two entities.
There will be a tunnel linking the two buildings, which will be utilized by players during sporting events to get to and from the locker rooms.
The plaza between the two buildings has been slightly down-sized, but will still have a large portion of concrete area with some kind of seating for students and patrons to gather before, during and after sporting events. The plaza will overlook the football field, which will be built and owned by the City of Watford City.
“You will get a great vista walking down the plaza into the field area,” said a JLG Architect.
The stadium bleachers will seat 1,200 to 1,500 individuals. The top of the bleachers will be level with the walking plaza between the Events Center and the high school. They will step down to the field and track level.
The Press Box will be at the top of the bleachers, with its back to the plaza - acting as a perfect place to display the school name or logo.
At the next school board meeting, JLG Architects plan to present exterior renderings and interior design plans to the board. The city and school district continue to work together on site plans.