Students arrive for the first day of classes at the new Watford City High School KUMV-TV

Students arrive for the first day of classes at the new Watford City High School.

New $50 million high school opens in Watford City, N.D.

Oil boom fuels population growth and the need for more classrooms.

The McKenzie County (N.D.) district welcomed students today to a new Watford City High School.

The Dickinson Press reports that students arrived at the new campus a day after North Dakota Gov. Jack Dalrymple and others dedicated the $50 million, 167,000-square-foot school.

The school was built in response to the population growth Watford City has experienced because of the Bakken Shale oil boom. The city had about 1,600 people at the start of the decade and now has about 7,000.

Enrollment has grown from 580 students in 2004-05 to 1,316 in 2015-16. Projections show student numbers rising steadily for the foreseeable future, reaching 2,141 in 2020-21.

The area's oil boom is the result of a controversial method of oil production, hydraulic fracturing, or fracking. It has enabled companies to extract oil in the region more efficiently.

The 800-capacity high school will house grades seven to 12. The existing high school facility will be converted to accommodate grades four to six, and the existing elementary will house kindergarten through grade three.

Voters in the district overwhelming supported a bond proposal in 2014 to help pay for the school.

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