West Fargo, North Dakota
City on the Grow
Location of West Fargo, North Dakota
|• Mayor||Bernie Dardis|
|• Total||16.28 sq mi (42.16 km2)|
|• Land||16.04 sq mi (41.54 km2)|
|• Water||0.24 sq mi (0.63 km2)|
|Elevation||896 ft (273 m)|
| • Estimate |
|• Density||2,310.78/sq mi (892.19/km2)|
|• Demonym||West Fargoan|
|Time zone||UTC−6 (Central (CST))|
|• Summer (DST)||UTC−5 (CDT)|
|GNIS feature ID||1032733|
|Highways||I-94, I-94 Bus., US 10|
West Fargo is a city in Cass County, North Dakota, United States. It is, as of the 2019 Census Estimates, the fifth largest city in the state of North Dakota with a population estimated at 37,058, and it is one of the state's fastest growing cities. West Fargo was founded in 1926. The city is part of the Fargo-Moorhead, ND-MN Metropolitan Statistical Area.
West Fargo is located at (46.871749, -96.894966).
According to the United States Census Bureau, the city has a total area of 14.72 square miles (38.12 km2), of which 14.44 square miles (37.40 km2) is land and 0.28 square miles (0.73 km2) is water.
This climatic region is typified by large seasonal temperature differences, with warm (and often humid) summers and cold (sometimes severely cold) winters. According to the Köppen Climate Classification system, West Fargo has a humid continental climate, abbreviated "Dfb" on climate maps.
|U.S. Decennial Census|
According to the 2008-2012 American Community Survey 5-Year Estimates, the ancestry is as follows:
- German 46.2%
- Norwegian 35.4%
- Irish 7.6%
- Swedish 6.2%
- English 5.4%
- French (except Basque) 3.8%
- American 2.7%
- Polish 2.6%
- Russian 2.5%
- Czech 2.4%
- Subsaharan African 2.2%
- Italian 1.7%
- Scottish 1.3%
- Danish 1.2%
At the 2010 census, there were 25,830 people, 10,348 households and 6,823 families residing in the city. The population density was 1,788.8 inhabitants per square mile (690.7/km2). There were 10,760 housing units at an average density of 745.2 per square mile (287.7/km2). The racial makeup was 93.5% White, 2.0% African American, 1.0% Native American, 1.4% Asian, 0.4% from other races, and 1.8% from two or more races. Hispanic or Latino of any race were 1.8% of the population.
There were 10,348 households, of which 36.2% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 52.8% were married couples living together, 9.1% had a female householder with no husband present, 4.0% had a male householder with no wife present, and 34.1% were non-families. 26.4% of all households were made up of individuals, and 6.6% had someone living alone who was 65 years of age or older. The average household size was 2.49 and the average family size was 3.04.
The median age was 32.6 years. 26.9% of residents were under the age of 18; 9.3% were between the ages of 18 and 24; 32.9% were from 25 to 44; 23.2% were from 45 to 64; and 7.8% were 65 years of age or older. The gender makeup of the city was 49.6% male and 50.4% female.
At the 2000 census, there were 14,940 people, 5,771 households and 4,091 families residing in the city. The population density was 2,049.2 per square mile (791.3/km2). There were 5,968 housing units at an average density of 818.6 per square mile (316.1/km2). The racial makeup was 96.40% White, 0.42% African American, 1.04% Native American, 0.28% Asian, 0.02% Pacific Islander, 0.67% from other races, and 1.16% from two or more races. Hispanic or Latino of any race were 1.41% of the population.
There were 5,771 households, of which 40.1% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 57.3% were married couples living together, 9.9% had a female householder with no husband present, and 29.1% were non-families. 23.7% of all households were made up of individuals, and 5.9% had someone living alone who was 65 years of age or older. The average household size was 2.59 and the average family size was 3.09.
29.2% of the population were under the age of 18, 8.9% from 18 to 24, 34.0% from 25 to 44, 21.2% from 45 to 64, and 6.7% who were 65 years of age or older. The median age was 32 years. For every 100 females, there were 97.4 males. For every 100 females age 18 and over, there were 94.4 males.
The median household income was $44,542 and the median family income was $51,765. Males had a median income of $32,105 and females $22,148. The per capita income was $19,368. About 4.7% of families and 6.3% of the population were below the poverty line, including 7.8% of those under age 18 and 14.8% of those age 65 or over.
Law and government
The City of West Fargo is governed by a Board of City Commissioners, which consists of the President of the Board (Mayor) and four City Commissioners. The current mayor of West Fargo as of 2018 is Bernie Dardis.
Sharon Schacher retired in 2011 after 35 years as the City of West Fargo's finance director. Tina Fisk replaced Schacher in that year. Two new director positions were created: human resources, which was filled by Carmen Schroeder, and information technology, which was filled by James Anderson, both in 2011. In 2015, Tina Fisk was named city administrator, replacing Jim Brownlee.
City Hall's official ground breaking was held 9 May 1975, in 2005, City Hall was renovated when the library moved to its new facility. City Hall's most recent renovation concluded in 2016, which brought building inspections and information technology under the same roof and included secure underground police parking. The $19 million renovation added 34,000 square feet to City Hall.
The Police Department has grown from three officers in 1968, to 61 sworn officers as of 2018. "The West Fargo Police Department’s Mission is to provide quality service to residents and guests of West Fargo, ensuring a safe community by protecting their constitutional rights in the most professional manner possible." Police officers and other city employees enforce West Fargo city ordinances. Heith Janke is the current, as of 2017, Chief of Police. The previous chief was ousted by the city for inappropriate contact with city companies. The police department's community programs include Citizen Police Academy, Police Explorers Post 281, Night to Unite, Neighborhood Watch Program, TRIAD and Crime Free Multi-Housing.
Economic Development and Community Services
"The Business Development Department connects new and existing business owners and operators with city officials, helping to pave the way for the growth and expansion that is making West Fargo part of North Dakota’s new economic frontier." Economic Development Director Matthew Marshall "says some of West Fargo’s growth is a reflection of the recent trendiness of the greater Fargo area, which has attracted young workers and families and translated into a low median age that businesses desire." Incentives for businesses include loans (PACE Loan and Flex PACE Loan) as well as "tax incentives for purchasing, leasing, or making improvements to real property located in a North Dakota renaissance zone."
In 2015, West Fargo became a "North Dakota Cares" community. North Dakota Governor Jack Dalrymple has "pledged $500,000 from his executive budget" to support "service members, veterans, families and survivors."
Public Works Department oversees streets, sewer and water, sanitation and forestry for the city. "There are eight (8) existing wells within the City. The total pumping capacity of all wells together is 3,500 galloons per minute (5 million gallons per day)." In 2014, Chris Brungardt, the former assistant director, was appointed as the public works director and The West Fargo City Commission unanimously approved a "contract with Twin Cities based Waste Management to start a no-sort recycling program in the city in April."
West Fargo Fire & Rescue is a combination department led by Chief Dan Fuller, of Danvers MA. The department has 18 career and 44 paid on call (POC) positions. The dept has two stations and provides "all hazard" services including fire suppression, community risk reduction, basic life support EMS, hazmat, and technical rescue specialties such as water/ice rescue, high angle rope rescue and tactical EMS. Two ladders, three engines, an EMS rescue, a heavy rescue, hazmat trailer, two boats, a grass truck, and three administrative trucks make up the vehicles in the fleet. The command structure includes a career Fire Chief, Office Coordinator, three Deputy Chiefs (Risk Reduction, Operations, Professional Standards), an Emergency Preparedness Coordinator, two Battalion Chiefs (one career, one POC), nine Captains (three career, six POC) as well as a Fire Department Chaplain. The department holds an ISO Class 3 rating.
The West Fargo Park District maintains 30 parks, bike paths, and facilities that include Scheels Soccer Complex, Veterans Memorial Arena, Rustad Recreation Center and Veterans Memorial Pool. A five-member park board oversees the Park District; Barb Erbstoesser is the executive director. West Fargo Winter Days, an annual event, includes a Silver Snowflake Search, sleigh rides and a chili cookoff.
The West Fargo Public Library is located in the Clayton A. Lodoen Center at 215 3rd Street East in West Fargo. The library moved into this facility in 2005. Freda Hatten, the first Librarian of the West Fargo Public Library, retired in 1976. Carissa Hansen has served as Library Director since December 2019, following the retirement of Sandra Hannahs who served from 2007 to 2019. Before that, Miriam Arves had been the library director for 31 years. Beyond the circulation of physical items like books, the West Fargo Public Library offers a wide range of in-person and online services to patrons. In 2020, amid calls for worldwide social distancing due to the COVID-19 outbreak, the West Fargo Public Library translated their popular in-person programs into virtual programs calling this new collection of services "West Fargo Public Library at Home!" 
- In 2013, West Fargo was named City of the Year by the North Dakota League of Cities.
- In 2013, The West Fargo City Commission received the American Public Works Association North Dakota Chapter Project of the Year Award for the city's "Storm Sewer Improvement District numbers 4044, 4046, and 4047".
- In 2014, City Administrator Jim Brownlee was "named North Dakota League of Cities Outstanding City Employee of the Year".
- In 2014, Library Director Sandra Hannahs was named North Dakota Librarian of the Year.
- West Fargo has been a Tree City for over 30 years. Tree City USA requirements include "maintaining a tree board or department, having a community tree ordinance, spending at least $2 per capita on urban forestry and celebrating Arbor Day".
- In 2011, West Fargo was recognized as a Playful City USA by KaBOOM!. "Playful City USA is a national recognition program sponsored by the Humana Foundation, honoring cities and towns that champion efforts to make play a priority through establishing policy initiatives, infrastructure investments and innovative programming".
- In 2015, West Fargo was named one of North Dakota's five safest cities according to The Safewise Report which uses FBI Crime Report data to rank the safest cities
- In 2016, West Fargo Public Library was named North Dakota's Amazing Library by MSN.com
West Fargo works with North Dakota Department of Transportation, Fargo-Moorhead Metropolitan Council of Governments (Metro COG), and Fargo Moorhead Metro Area Transit to meet the transportation needs of West Fargo citizens. In addition, The West Fargo Municipal Airport, 6 miles northwest of Fargo, is operated by the West Fargo Airport Authority and has a paved and lighted 3,300 x 50 foot runway.
West Fargo School District
West Fargo School District serves the city of West Fargo, much of southwestern Fargo, the suburb of Reile's Acres, and the communities of Horace and Harwood. Seven West Fargo residents are elected to serve on the school board, these residents govern the school district and serve 4-year terms.
The board voted unanimously on Monday, March 26, to hire Beth Slette, a 25-year veteran of the district and current West Fargo assistant superintendent of elementary education. Slette took over for Dr. David Flowers who had served as superintendent since 2010. Flowers was named the North Dakota Superintendent of the Year by the North Dakota Association of School Administrators in 2012. Holly Ripley, an assistant principal at West Fargo High School, was named the 2016 National Assistant Principal of the Year.
The West Fargo School District (then referred to as "School District No. 6 in Cass County") was formed on 9 October 1876. In January 1887, Nina Hall was hired to teach for two months. She was paid $40. "This first school was large enough to handle the pupils of the district until 1910 when it became necessary to build the Fairview School in the western part of the district. The two schools continued to operate until 1923." In 1922, North School was built, which included two classrooms and a gymnasium. The following year, Jennie Worman Colby became the first principal. In 1939, a new school building was built for grades 7-12. Today the building, The Clayton A. Lodoen Community Center, houses the West Fargo Community High, Clayton A. Lodoen Kindergarten Center, and West Fargo Public Library.
The City of West Fargo's growth has caused the building of new schools to meet the needs of its students. Aurora Elementary School (located in the Eagle Run development in southern West Fargo) opened for the 2007–2008 school year and Sheyenne 9th Grade Center opened on 27 August 2007 in response to the district's growing enrollment and overcrowding at West Fargo High School (2007 was the first year that freshmen were educated outside the High School since 1993). The Sheyenne 9th Grade Center may serve as a second middle school for West Fargo, as it was decided in March 2009 to be voted on by the public. In January 2015, Superintendent David Flowers presented a 10-year RSP Associates demographics study which "predicts the district will continue to add between 400 and more than 600 students each year".
The school district operates two early childhood schools (Clayton A. Lodoen Kindergarten Center and Osgood Kindergarten Center), ten elementary schools (Aurora Elementary, Eastwood Elementary, Freedom Elementary, Harwood Elementary, Horace Elementary, Independence Elementary, L.E. Berger Elementary, Liberty 5th Grade, South Elementary, and Westside Elementary), two middle schools (Cheney Middle and Liberty Middle) and three high schools (West Fargo High School, Sheyenne High, and Community High).
Hulbert Aquatic Facility
In 2016, the school district began construction of an $18.5 million competitive pool facility at the L.E. Berger Elementary School. The facility will include the pool used for the USA Swimming trials for the 2016 Summer Olympics at the CenturyLink Center Omaha in which Michael Phelps and Ryan Lochte competed. The Omaha pool which was built by Myrtha Pools was dismantled after the competition and moved to West Fargo. It is named for the Hulbert family which donated $1 million for the project.
Since it began in 2009, West Fargo School's Science, Technology, Engineering and Math (STEM) program  has taken top honors in several competitions, including the Technology Student Association State Competition in 2012, the Bison BEST competition in 2009, and students won first place for Best Web Page Design at the 2009 Frontier Trails BEST Regional Robotics Competition 
In 2015, "an education partnership" was "launched to help high school students in West Fargo, Fargo and Northern Cass school districts prepare for college and 21st century technical careers." While a business partnership already exists between West Fargo High School and Microsoft, Cass County Career and Technical Education Consortium hopes to expand to industries to include "agricultural science, diesel technology, health science, aviation, information technology and engineering".
A group of Liberty Middle School students won ‘Best of State’ in the 2014–15, 2015–16 and 2016–17 Verizon Innovative App Challenge.
In 2016, "West Fargo High School teacher Michelle Strand earned the Presidential Award of Excellence in Mathematics and Science Teaching as named by President Barack Obama."
North Dakota State Teacher of the Year Awards
1996 - Marcia Kenyon, Eastwood Elementary School
1998 - Vickie Boutiette, District Reading
2008 - Verna Rasmussen, Westside Elementary School
2013 - Andrea Noonan, Cheney Middle School
2014 - Aaron Knodel, West Fargo High School
2017 - Nanci Dauwen, Sheyenne High School
- Faith Lutheran 
- Lutheran Church of the Cross
- St. Andrew Lutheran Church
- Shepherd of the Valley Lutheran Church
- Triumph Lutheran Brethren Church
- Flame of Faith United Methodist Church
- Community Presbyterian Church
- Changing Lives Tabernacle
- Meadow Ridge Bible Chapel
- New Beginnings Assembly of God
- Prairie Heights
- Red River Church
- Shiloh Evangelical Free Church
The West Fargo community supports businesses through the city of West Fargo and The Fargo Moorhead West Fargo Chamber of Commerce. The city of West Fargo supports business owners through The West Fargo Economic Development Advisory Committee, West Fargo Economic Development Department and City Assessor's Office. The Fargo Moorhead West Fargo Chamber of Commerce is a bi-state organization representing over 2,000 firms and 94,000 people. The Chamber supports its members through "advocacy, education, and engagement".
Technology companies with West Fargo locations, include:
- Applied Industrial Technologies
- BNG Technologies
- Data Technologies Inc.
- High Point Networks
- Network Center Communications
- Norse Technologies
- Razor Tracking
- Red Chair Solutions
- Digital Famous Media
Newspapers and magazines
West Fargo news is covered in several newspapers and magazines including:
- Area Woman Magazine
- Fargo Forum
- Fargo Monthly
- Prairie Business
- West Fargo Pioneer mailed free to every West Fargo resident
Annual West Fargo events include:
- Big Iron, an annual event located at the West Fargo Fairgrounds, features farm equipment and over 900 exhibit booths. Over 87,000 attendees took part in the three-day Big Iron in 2013.
- Bonanzaville Pioneer Days includes a parade, food, demonstrations and tours.
- Hamfest an annual event located at the West Fargo Fairgrounds, features presentations and equipment for sale.
- Nite to Unite, hosted by the West Fargo Police Department, is an annual community summer event. Past activities have included Police, Fire, FM Ambulance and Military demonstrations, free food, face painting, mascots and community service display booths.
- Red River Valley Fair includes entertainment, arts and crafts shows, livestock, fireworks and a petting zoo.
- The West Fargo Public Library hosts its Summer Reading Program to encourage reading for children, teens, and adults.
- The West Fargo Shakers holds an annual New Year's Eve Party on December 31, all proceeds benefit the Back Pack Program.
- West Fest, held in September, is a community event for all ages, including a softball tournament, a pancake feed, a parade, and firefighter's ball.
Sites of interest
- Anthony W. England, NASA astronaut
- Jan Maxwell, Broadway actress and five time Tony Award nominee
- Tyler Roehl, former running back with the Seattle Seahawks and Minnesota Vikings
- Matt Strahm, relief pitcher for the San Diego Padres
- "Developments proving West Fargo is really "A City on the..."
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- "U.S. Census website". United States Census Bureau. Retrieved 14 June 2012.
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- "US Board on Geographic Names". United States Geological Survey. 25 October 2007. Retrieved 2008-01-31.
- "2010 Census Redistricting Data (Public Law 94-171) Summary File". American FactFinder. United States Census Bureau. Retrieved 2 May 2011.[dead link]
- "City of West Fargo Official Website".
- "US Gazetteer files: 2010, 2000, and 1990". United States Census Bureau. 12 February 2011. Retrieved April 23, 2011.
- "US Gazetteer files 2010". United States Census Bureau. Archived from the original on July 2, 2012. Retrieved June 14, 2012.
- "West Fargo, North Dakota Köppen Climate Classification (Weatherbase)".
- "U.S. Decennial Census". Census.gov. Retrieved May 26, 2013.
- "Population Estimates". United States Census Bureau. Retrieved October 3, 2018.
- United States Census
- "City of West Fargo > Home > Government > City Commission".
- "Schacher entering new life chapter".
- "Gustafson taking over as Finance Director".
- "Schroeder assumes Human Resource position".
- "City moves forward with Information Technology position".
- "This Week in History". Retrieved 27 June 2016.
- "Expansion blueprint proceeding for city hall, police department..." Retrieved 27 June 2016.
- "Grand opening of West Fargo City Hall, Police Department". Retrieved 27 June 2016.
- "West Fargo Police Department Annual Report 2018". West Fargo Police Department.
- "City of West Fargo > Home > Departments".
- "City Ordinances".
- "City of West Fargo > Home > Departments".
- "City of West Fargo > Home > Departments".
- "City of West Fargo > Home > Departments > Economic Development & Community Services".
- "West Fargo Economic Development > Incentives".
- "West Fargo stepping up for veterans".
- "City of West Fargo > Home > Departments > Public Works".
- "City appoints heads of police, public works".
- "No-sort recycling to debut in April".
- "Parks & Facilities - West Fargo Park District".
- "About Us - West Fargo Park District".
- "Winter days flying by".
- "Hannahs new Library director".
- "City receives state award for lift station projects".
- "City's 'point guard' Brownlee gets Employee of Year a..."
- "Hannahs named ND Librarian of the Year".
- "West Fargo Arbor Day celebration May 2".
- "What is Tree City USA? - The Arbor Day Foundation".
- "Program Details - KaBOOM!".
- "5 Safest Cities in North Dakota - SafeWise". 16 February 2015.
- "Amazing Libraries in All 50 States".
- Transportation, North Dakota Department of. "DOT Home Page".
- "MATBUS--Fargo, Moorhead and West Fargo".
- "City of West Fargo > Home > Government > Airport Authority".
- "AOPA airports/aptdetail.cfm". www.aopa.org. 3 April 2016.
- "AirNav: D54 - West Fargo Municipal Airport".
- "West Fargo Public Schools - West Fargo, North Dakota".
- "West Fargo School Board Hires Internal Candidate Superintendent".
- "West Fargo School Board: Flowers receives high marks after first..."
- "Flowers named N.D. Superintendent of the Year".
- "West Fargo assistant principal wins national honor".
- "Historical Center - School Exhibit".
- "West Fargo History Exhibit".
- "Community High :: West Fargo Public Schools".
- "Clayton A. Lodoen Kindergarten Center :: West Fargo Public Schools".
- "About the Library - West Fargo Public Library".
- "Study shows city may need third high school, more elementary..."
- "West Fargo Public Schools - West Fargo, North Dakota".
- "Local swim group purchases Olympic Trials competition pool for..."
- "Pool naming rights given to longtime swim family".
- "Science Technology Engineering and Math".
- "Cheney, STEM students take top honors at TSA State Competiti..."
- "STEM students excel for web page design".
- "Education partnership aligns students, needs of workforce".
- "Liberty sixth-grade team's project wins 'Best of State'". West Fargo Pioneer.
- "EduTech Southeast Region Blog - Verizon Innovative App Challenge 2014-15". West Fargo Pioneer.
- "Liberty students chosen as "Best in State" for Verizon..." West Fargo Pioneer.
- "West Fargo teacher wins Award of Excellence". West Fargo Pioneer.
- Schools, West Fargo Public. "West Fargo Public Schools - West Fargo, North Dakota". www.west-fargo.k12.nd.us.
- "West Fargo's Dauwen named ND Teacher of the Year".
- "Blessed Sacrament - Home".
- "Holy Cross Catholic Church".
- "Grow In Faith".
- "Lutheran Church of the Cross - West Fargo, ND".
- "Home - St Andrew Lutheran Church".
- "Account Suspended".
- "Triumph Lutheran Brethren Church MN".
- "Flame of Faith United Methodist Church".
- "Changing Lives Tabernacle - Welcome To - Welcome To".
- "Meadow Ridge Bible Chapel".
- "NEW BEGINNINGS ASSEMBLY OF GOD".
- "Welcome to Red River Church".
- "City of West Fargo > Home > Business".
- Applied Industrial Technologies website
- BNG Technologies website
- "New Page 1".
- High Point Networks website
- Network Center Communications website
- Norse Technologies website
- Razor Tracking website
- Red Chair Solutions website
- TrueIT website
- Digital Famous Media website
- Area Woman Magazine
- Fargo Forum website
- Monthly website
- "Prairie Business magazine".
- "West Fargo Pioneer to be delivered every Wednesday Free to West..."
- "West Fargo Pioneer".
- "Former West Fargo Pioneer publisher Witham dies at age 95". West Fargo Pioneer.
- "Don Witham Obituary". Tributes.com.
- "About Us - Big Iron Farm Show".
- "West Fargo Event Listings - A Complete List of Events in West Fargo, North Dakota".
- "Bonanzaville Pioneer Village and Cass County Museum - Bonanzaville".
- "Red River Radio Amateurs". rrra.org.
- "American Radio Relay League - Ham Radio Association and Resources". www.arrl.org.
- "City of West Fargo > Home > Departments".
- "Contact Us".
- "West Fargo Public Library".
- "Summer reading program a success".
- "Event Details". West Fargo Shakers.
- "West Fest". City of West Fargo.
- Bicentennial West Fargo-Riverside History Book Committee. (1977). Thru the years to '76. West Fargo, N.D.: J & M Printing.
- Cushing, N. (2003). West Fargo : A work in progress. Moorhead, Minn.: Dept. of Mass Communications, Minnesota State University Moorhead.
- Dodge, R. (2009). Prairie murders : The true story of three murders and the loss of innocence in a small North Dakota town (1st ed.). St. Cloud, Minn.: North Star Press of St. Cloud.
- Forness, P. (1994). Seasons : Pleasant pastures on the All-Muddy River (1st. ed.). Fargo, N.D.: Prairie House.
- Heritage Publications (Hendrum, Minn.). (2003). A Century of the Red River Valley Fair. Hendrum, MN: Heritage Publications.
- Witham, D. (2003). Sharing a legacy : The life & times of Donovan C. Witham. West Fargo, ND?: S.n.
- Witham, D. (2011). Always with'em : A life to remember, musings on publishing, politics, and life in a small town. West Fargo, N.D.: Donovan C. Witham.