The Crude Life Interview: Watford City schools growing, ripples through the energy community

Interview: Steve Holen, McKenzie County school superintendent, Watford City, ND

In this exclusive interview with Steve Holen, McKenzie County School Superintendent, Jason Spiess and Holen discuss how the energy industry has impacted their community.

Watford City has experienced unprecedented growth and the school system has arguably been impacted the most.  A new high school and community center, using temporary building in subzero temperatures, tax ripples are just a few points of discussion.  Holen updates new population expectations, school numbers and births.

One of the recent changes in Watford City’s change in the school system is moving from Class B to Class A in sports.  This move indicates size of school, community and tax base.  As the community gears up for Class A in 2018, travel costs, tournament schedules and other fiscal incidentals are bantered around and whether that will impact the local tax rate.

The two also talk about the “Pillars of Progress”, which is when government, industry and the community are on the same page in order for major projects to come to fruition.  Holen describes several examples of when the pillars of progress were followed in Watford City.

Holen and Spiess also discuss the historical context of Watford City in the big picture of the Bakken and evolution of Western North Dakota. Spiess believes the current Bakken shale play will be a chapter in history books with Watford City having its own subchapter. Holen opines on how Watford City will be viewed in the bigger picture too.

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