Master Facilities Plan
Following recommendations from the community task forces, the School Board voted unanimously to hold a special election on March 12, 2002, to approve a $64 million bond referendum to implement the district’s plan for the future.
The plan included the construction of a new K-5 elementary school and a new 6-8 middle school, the remodeling of Robert Asp and Moorhead Junior High to K-5 elementary schools, an addition to Moorhead High School, and the conversion of Probstfield Elementary School into a district education center.
The $64 million proposal was designed to enhance educational effectiveness, create economic efficiency and modernize the district’s infrastructure.
Details of the facility plan included:
- Modify the district’s grade level configuration to K-5, 6-8, 9-12 to reduce the transitions for students and allow for comprehensive curriculum development.
- Develop a 6-8 middle school for 1,300 students, based upon true middle school curriculum and philosophy.
- Improve current 9-12 high school curriculum delivery and facility infrastructure for 1,800 students. This included the creation of a ninth grade house, similar in concept to the middle school.
- Improve the current grades 7-12 alternative education programs to incorporate both “school within a school” and off-site models.
- Design three K-5 elementary schools for 750-800 students each, providing equity in programs and services and reducing the time students spend being transported to programs in other facilities.
- Create educational delivery models within each district educational facility that provide for smaller learning communities within the new and remodeled facilities.
- Consolidate district support programs and departments.
- Demolish Washington and Voyager Elementary Schools and find viable reuse for remaining district facilities.
Citizens for Effective and Efficient Schools was formed when an enthusiastic group of parents, district employees, and community members joined together to educate the community and drive efforts creating support for the vision.
On March 12, 2002, the community supported the vision for the district’s future with approval of the bond referendum. Voters in the Moorhead School District approved the district’s $64 million bond referendum 51.2 percent to 48.8 percent.
Design Process Begins
Zerr Berg Architects, Inc. and Rozeboom Miller Architects, Inc. were hired to design the building projects. Kraus-Anderson Construction Company was hired for the construction management of all six projects.
On March 25, 2002, bonds to fund the construction projects were sold at a 5.0482% interest rate. The school district will levy 19 years instead of 20 years for a savings of $4.5 million.
By April 2002, four design committees were meeting regularly to discuss design needs of the high school, middle school, three elementary schools and the district education center. The four design committees were responsible for working with the architects to determine the design philosophy for each building. Work done by the design committees and architects was reviewed by the Facilities Overview Committee and approved by the School Board prior to the completion of each design phase.
Simultaneously the implementation and transition teams were addressing the educational programs that would be provided within these new facilities.
On May 28, 2002, Ted Rozeboom, Rozeboom Miller Architects, and Tim Zerr, Zerr Berg Architects, presented the Pre-Design report to the School Board.
In July 2002, the School Board accepted schematic designs for the Moorhead High School additions and remodel, the new middle school, and the Robert Asp, Moorhead Junior High, and Probstfield remodels. Approval of the Schematic Design Phase approved the construction of the new middle school on district property near 12th Avenue South and 40th Street.
On August 27, 2002, the school district sponsored a community ice cream social in Viking Ship Park to provide an opportunity for community members to socialize and receive an update on the district’s facilities plans and educational enhancements.
Booths displayed the building plans and school models and the educational enhancement efforts. Architects, administrators and members of the design committees and implementation teams answered questions from community members.
The first construction bid was awarded on Sept. 26, 2002, when the School Board awarded Bid Package 1 for partial site work, footings and foundations for the new middle school.
Groundbreaking Kicks Off Six Construction Projects
On Oct. 9, 2002, students, School Board members, administrators, teachers and other community representatives participated in the groundbreaking for the 230,000 square-foot middle school. The students attending the groundbreaking were fourth, fifth, and sixth-graders from across the district. These students represented the first classes of sixth, seventh and eighth-graders to attend the new middle school.
In November, the School Board approved the schematic design for the new elementary school, which would be built at 40th Avenue and 14th Street South.
By March 2003, Adult Basic Education and Indian Education had moved out of Voyager to Townsite Centre in preparation for Voyager’s demolition during the summer of 2003.
District Education Center
The School Board approved the design development for Probstfield Center for Education on Jan. 26, 2004. Design development detailed the interior and exterior finishes, site and building plans, cost estimates, and work schedule.
Disposal of Excess Facilities
As part of the master facilities plan, George Washington Elementary and Voyager were demolished to create a larger site for Robert Asp Elementary. Thomas Edison Elementary, Riverside Elementary, Townsite Centre and Lincoln Early Childhood Center were sold.
Final celebrations were held at the end of the 2003-04 school year to honor the closing of Riverside Elementary, George Washington Elementary, Thomas Edison Elementary, Probstfield Elementary, and Moorhead Junior High School. Packing was finished as teachers and staff in every school prepared for moves.
In July 2004, George Washington Elementary School was demolished to create a larger site for the newly renovated Robert Asp Elementary School.
New and Completely Renovated Facilities
Construction continued across the district during the summer of 2004. Work to finalize the schools was still being completed when teachers and staff returned in late August 2004. The new and newly remodeled schools opened Sept. 7 for the 2004-05 school year.
The final building to be completed was Probstfield Center for Education. Community Education and Early Intervention Services moved into their areas at Probstfield Center for Education in late August. District offices moved at the end of September 2004.
On Sept. 25, 2004, a dedication ceremony was held to celebrate the first time in 35 years that all of the schools in the district were new or newly renovated. Community members were invited to tour the schools during open houses that afternoon.
On Nov. 16, 2004, ambassadors from the Fargo-Moorhead Chamber of Commerce helped the district celebrate the completion of the construction projects and the relocation of the district offices and Community Education programs to Probstfield Center for Education during a ribbon-cutting ceremony held in conjunction with American Education Week.