Lots of Twin Cities firms are capitalizing on the tremendous growth occuring in North Dakota, most of it oil-related. Minneapolis-based Kraus-Anderson Construction Co. is one of them.

The firm recently announced that it is building a new district high school and an adjoining municipal event and recreation center in Watford City, N.D., the fastest-growing city in the nation.

The combined construction cost of the two projects is more than $100 million.

The city's population is soaring due to the energy boom in the nearby Bakken oil fields. Between March 2013 to February 2014, the McKenzie County School District has grown from 200 kindergarten through 12th-grade students to 1,060 -- doubling the size of the district since 2010.

Thanks to a successful bond referendum, the new high school for the McKenzie County Public School District will be built for 800 students in grades seven through 12. The high school is a joint venture with KA and Grand Forks-based Construction Engineers Inc.

The three-story building will span 160,000 square feet and include classrooms, cafeteria, common area, kitchen, multimedia center and learning-resource center. The school will also feature a gymnasium, two athletic fields, cardio weight room, wrestling ring, theater, shop, and band and choral rooms.

The existing 30-year old high school will be repurposed as a middle school.

The 2013 census lists the county’s population at 9,314, a 46.5 percent increase since 2010, not including temporary workers, KA said in a news release.

The $60 million municipal event and recreation center will span 240,700 square feet and feature a pool, three basketball courts, two-sheet ice arena for hockey and skating, baseball and softball stadiums, convention space and a 3,000-seat venue for concerts and sporting events. It will also include parking lots, conference rooms and administrative offices.

Both the high school and event center are designed by JLG Architects of Minneapolis.

Located on Highway 23 east of Watford City, site work is scheduled to begin next month, with construction expected to be completed in early 2016.

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