McKenzie County voters approved a $27 million dollar bond to build a new high school in Watford City.
The district had a net growth of 200 students since last spring, tracking slightly ahead of population growth projection studies.
Jennifer Kleen tells us how the $50 million dollar project will move forward on an aggressive timeline to make room.
A new day has dawned for McKenzie County School District after voters approved a three building system --- a new high school in Watford City.
(Steve Holen, Superintendent Watford City Schools) "We did everything possible that if we had a successful vote, that we were going to hit this construction season. So it's full steam ahead right now."
Superintendent Steve Holen says the district focused on what was needed, and voters agreed.
The March 11 election revealed a 90 percent approval --- 748 Yes votes, 83 No.
(Steve Holen, Superintendent Watford City Schools) "We felt good about the project going in. We felt like we had done everything we could. We had a good plan in place and had an extremely active 'Vote Yes' committee so we felt good going in but it was great to be surprised by that level of support."
The new high school will be located here --- east of Watford City on a hilltop southwest of the golf course, and north of the airport runway.
(Steve Holen, Superintendent Watford City Schools) "It's a good site. It is an elevated site and should be a highly visible site and we feel good about that. It'll be a prominent building, all small town high schools are. We did a lot of work on the site and we think it will be a good site."
Watford City Municipal Airport Manager Tim Taylor agrees that there will be little interference with the growing airport.
Taylor says airport traffic has increased five times since 2011, the over head noise may be a consideration but he says safety will be no different than planes over buildings in larger cities.
Access was also a topic of study for the location.
Holen says at this time, traveling east on Highway 23 can be a challenge, but the North Dakota Department of Transportation has confirmed that the east Watford City bypass will follow the same timeline as the school construction.
(Steve Holen, Superintendent Watford City Schools) "The changes from the bypass into the community, that access will be tremendously improved and safety is not going to be a concern at that site."
The district anticipates being in the new school the fall of 2015 --- construction teams will be moving dirt by the end of May.
(Steve Holen, Superintendent Watford City Schools) "There is substantial dirt work on the site. Then we'll start seeing some vertical by mid to late summer. Our plan is to be enclosed by next winter so we can get a lot done and maintain the timeline. It's going to be an aggressive schedule but so far everything seems to be in place to make that happen."
A new day. A new school. McKenzie County has said Yes to new opportunities for students.
In Watford City, Jennifer Kleen, KX News.
Holen says JLG Architects and two construction management teams are already in place.
Ramstad Middle School construction manager Kraus-Anderson partnered with Construction Engineers, the team that managed the elementary and courthouse projects in Watford City.