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Lifelong Learning

School Board hears second update about task force’s ideas for rebuilding Moorhead High

April 19, 2019

Work continues on conceptual design for replacing Moorhead High School on the existing site. At the April 8 meeting, the Moorhead School Board heard an update about the second meeting of the High School Conceptual Design Task Force.

The School Board voted in February to accept the High School Facilities Task Force recommendation to replace Moorhead High School on the existing site with a career academy located on a separate site. The school as recommended would be designed for 2,400 students with common areas designed for 2,600 students. 

Most of the current school will be removed following completion of the first phase of construction. This will eliminate the lack of light, split-level configuration and circulation issues found in the current high school, said Brian Berg, Zerr Berg Architects, at a board meeting earlier this year. Addressing the capacity and adequacy of the high school is part of phase two of the district’s facilities master plan.

Berg noted that design drivers of the project and the portrait of a Moorhead graduate are reviewed with the task force members at each meeting.

During the March 27 task force meeting, small groups discussed the opportunities and barriers for incorporating the existing ninth-grade center. Berg said discussion centered on how the ninth-grade center would function with a new portion of the building, the cost of replacement versus remodeling the space to integrate the multi-level building with a new single-level structure, the significant amount of renovation to keep that portion of the building, and what a possible repurpose could look like.

The task force’s second exercise considered how spaces would be organized on the site. The exercise focused on the high-level, big picture programming relationship and not on specific classrooms, number of classrooms or lab locations, Berg said. Concepts from the small groups had some commonality for how the major spaces for academics, commons areas, athletics and arts were arranged on the site. Berg discussed a plan that would allow phasing for the project to have less impact on the operation of the school during construction.

As a final exercise, the task force focused on building concepts for the academic and commons areas. Berg shared highlights of the discussion.

The task force’s third design meeting was April 10, and discussion at that meeting will be presented at the April 22 board meeting. Both the facilities task force and the conceptual design task force will meet May 1 to discuss the career academy. This will provide an opportunity for task force members to help define what program areas might be part of a career academy.

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