New elementary school in Watford City helps overcrowding issues

“What a beautiful building it is and we’re just so excited to be in it.”

With many changes to this school year, some students in Mckenzie County have another new aspect — a brand new building.

Fox Hills Elementary Principal Brad Foss said, “What a beautiful building it is and we’re just so excited to be in it.”

Over the last 16 months, Fox Hills Elementary in Watford City has been under construction, pushing hard to be open this fall.

“Moving in on September 4th and being ready by September 8th was a monumental achievement to say the least, but now we have kids in our building,” Foss said.

The nearly $35 million, 90,000 square foot facility was driven by an overcrowding issue that’s been at the forefront for quite some time.

“We did need the space, we haven’t had a building that was under capacity for probably the last eight years so we’ve always been fighting this battle with capacity,” District 1 Superintendent Steve Holen said.

The District’s only middle school has served as the transition school holding third through sixth grade students, but now, Holen says the new elementary school will allow the District to get back to normal.

“This building was a really pivotal one for us because it’s allowing us to reconfigure our district and really match and align a facility plan that’s been in place for quite a few years,” he said.

He says getting things back to normal was critical especially amid the pandemic.

“It’s a very challenging situation for everybody but in our situation, it was a great time to have this new facility. It’s allowing us to distance and do the things that are required for the guidelines now that we couldn’t do before,” Holen said.

Plus, students say a new school year under a new roof is a fun fresh start.

KX News asked a few students if they enjoyed the new school.

“Yes, because it’s big and it’s next to my brothers school,” fourth grader Geaige Guthrie said.

“It’s big and really nice!” fourth grader Emma Sweatt said.

“It’s so big and it has multiple floors too,” fourth grader Adame said.

Holen says this is just one piece to the puzzle, and that the District is prepared if the student population increases once again.