Education wins big in Moorhead election


Nancy Edmonds Hanson
hansonnanc@gmail.com


Asked to support a $110 million bond issue to rebuild and expand Moorhead High School, Moorhead voters gave a resounding “yes” Tuesday – by a margin of three or even four to one in precincts across the city, and by substantial margins in rural townships. Seventy-six percent of the 7,212 voters who weighed in, or 5,458, voted “yes,” with 1,754 opposing.
And voters on the south side of the city elected two educators to fill vacant seats on the Moorhead City Council. Larry Seljevold, a recently retired high school teacher and coach, was chosen from a field of five candidates in Ward 3. Steve Lindaas, a physicist and university professor, topped a field of seven in Ward 4. They will take their seats immediately after being sworn in during the council’s regular meeting Nov. 11.
The emphatic “yes” on the school bond came in support of a plan to reconstruct Moorhead High School to accommodate anticipated growth in student numbers from 1,872 today – already beyond the present building’s capacity of 1,800 – to 2,459 in 2023, when larger classes now in elementary and middle school reach the secondary level. The new school will be built in phases on the site of of the current facility, starting with three three-story classroom wings on the north.
Funds will also underwrite development of the new MHS Career Academy. It will occupy the recently purchased Sam’s Club building along Interstate 94. Plans call for a wide-ranging curriculum offering all students opportunities to explore careers and professions along seven paths, ranging from traditional voc ed areas like automotive and construction to health care, hospitality, information technology and design.
The educators elected in Wards 3 and 4 will fill council seats left vacant by the resignations of Joel Paulsen and Steve Gehrtz.
In the southwestern ward, Seljevold’s victory reprises a position he held for one term beginning in 1997. He and his wife Karen, both MHS graduates, have two adult children. He taught at Fargo South High School and coached boys track and field. Seljevold received 33.6%, or 654 votes. Other totals: Brent Behm, 27.5% (536); Edwin Hahn, 15.7% (306); Troy Krabbenhoft, 13.6% (265); and John Bell, 8.9% (173).
Lindaas chairs the Department of Physics and Astronomy at Minnesota State University Moorhead. He and his wife Alison have two adult children. He dominated the race in Ward 4 with 41.7%, or 744 votes. Other contenders include Marc Hedlund, 24% (428); Swede Stelzer, 17% (303); Ryan Larson, 6.9% (123); James McKinstra, 3.6% (65); Jeremiah Jones, 3% (54); and Eric Smith, 2.6% (46).

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