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Lifelong Learning

Superintendent’s Message: Task force to discuss high school facility needs

August 2, 2018

The announcement of the Moorhead Area Public Schools High School Facilities Task Force last month was met with questions about whether Moorhead was considering two high schools. Although two high schools may be in Moorhead’s future, facilities planning since 2001 remains focused on one high school and an area learning center for our grades 9-12 students.

In 2001, in response to declining enrollment, a facilities task force made recommendations to the Moorhead School Board to enhance educational effectiveness, create economic efficiency and modernize the infrastructure of Moorhead Area Public Schools. Those efforts led to enrollment growth and the need in 2014 for a 10-year facilities master plan to address instructional and safety needs at the schools, including additional space.

The 2014-15 facilities master planning process reaffirmed the district’s commitment to maintaining efficiencies in operations. Similar to 2001, the plan recommended elementary schools for 750 students and proposed a grades 5-6 school addition on the Horizon Middle School campus similar in size to the original 1,300-student middle school.

At Moorhead High School, a ninth-grade center addition was recommended by the 2001 task force to help students transition into the 1,800-student high school. The 2014-15 task force developed a two-phase Facilities Master Plan. The second phase of the plan focuses on space for grades 9-12 students, allowing for consideration of a new facility or a new addition to the existing facility.

The High School Facilities Task Force being formed for the 2018-19 school year will review recommendations related to high school facilities from both the 2014-15 facilities master planning process and the Designing Moorhead High School’s 21st Century Academic/Instructional Program Task Force, which provided recommendations in March 2018.

Task force members will learn that it’s more than just deciding about one high school or two high schools. Many factors must be considered, including the collaborative process in 2014-15 that led to a recommendation for a single high school, operating costs for a high school, projections for enrollment, and consideration for city infrastructure. As part of its responsibilities, the facilities task force will be asked to make a recommendation related to when Moorhead Area Public Schools must consider a second high school.

Applications from community members interested in serving on this task force may be submitted through Aug. 3 at https://goo.gl/forms/F6OFAjBGlRPw6GS93 , or contact the Superintendent’s Office at 218-284-3330 for a paper copy of the application.

As we move forward together, I hope our collaborative community process will help identify how our current 50-year-old high school facility should be addressed to meet the instructional and educational needs of today and into the future.

Sincerely,
Brandon Lunak, Superintendent
Moorhead Area Public Schools

Categorized under: School