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West Fargo adds schools to to accommodate growing community

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West Fargo, ND (WDAY TV) - And aside from the businesses and housing sprouting up, schools are booming right along with the rest of the town.

West Fargo schools added Independence Elementary here behind me to help a growing need in a growing community.

The district says in the past 20 years, it's expanded by almost 80%.

And that expansion does not appear to be slowing down.

Stacy Meister barely recognized West Fargo when her family moved back here from Bismarck last year.

Stacy Meister/West Fargo Parent: “We left and we came back and there was more apartments and businesses and it's like it blew up overnight. It's crazy how much it's grown... and still growing.”

Her fifth grader Riley will attend the brand new Independence Elementary in a couple of weeks.

Heather Konschack/ WF Schools: “It's an exciting time of year. It's a little nerve-wracking, you know, to figure out, do we have enough spaces, do we have enough staff to meet the needs of all those new kids to our district.”

This year, the district anticipates almost 500 new enrollments. But it says it's up for the challenge.

Heather: “It's a great problem to have, growth is, but it also brings with it lots of challenge and lots of opportunities for our community and the district.”

One of the challenges has been creating enough space to fit all of its new students. Independence is one of two new elementary schools popping up south of the interstate. The second - Legacy Elementary - should be finished in time for next school year.

And Sheyenne High School is also expanding; it added a new gym and a new fine arts addition should be finished this fall.   

Konschack: “Even though there's more kids, there's also more teachers and more classroom spaces.”

Increased enrollment and facilities have prompted the district to create at least 70 more positions this year.

Konschack: “And who knows, depending on what registration brings us, we might have to hire even a few more to help fill any additional classrooms that we may find out that we need.”

But parents and staff say they're both ready to tackle back-to-school.

Konschack: “At this point we know of nothing that would stop us from having a normal school start in two weeks.”

Meister: “I'm excited to see what it looks like and see the brand new school and see what they've done with it.”

West Fargo Schools registration continues through this week and students head back to class on August 25th.

Catherine Ross

Catherine joined the WDAY 6 News team as a reporter and photographer in April of 2014 and is honored to bring you stories from around the Red River Valley. She grew up in a suburb of Minneapolis and got her first taste of the news industry during a high school mentorship at Fox 9 in the Twin Cities. Catherine graduated from Emerson College in Boston where she participated in the student-run TV station WEBN and spent a semester in Washington, DC working at Voice of America. Those opportunities gave her a front-row seat to the 2012 Presidential election cycle, reporting at the Iowa Caucuses, Republican National Convention and President Obama’s second inauguration. Now happy to be back closer to family, Catherine enjoys exploring the nature and culture of the upper Midwest. She’s an avid runner, novice foodie and lifelong Twins fan. If you have any story ideas or just want to say hello, Catherine would love to hear from you!

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