Community Member Vote on School Bond Proposals - KFYRTV.COM - Bismarck, ND - News, Weather, Sports

Community Members Vote on School Bond Proposals

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Schools in north central North Dakota face growth issues. 

Five bond proposals are up for vote, and they total more than $173 million.  In Kenmare, 15 percent growth over the past nine years and a lack of space have caused the school district to find creative ways to make sure their students are being educated.

"Because of the lack of additional elementary classrooms, here at the high school we have kids grades 3 through 12.  So, the elementary school is currently just a K through 2 building," says  Superintendent Duane Mueller. 

Like many communities in North Dakota, Kenmare is growing.  With 80 apartments planned to be built, and 20 homes for sale, the Kenmare School Board is feeling the push to prepare for the future. 

"We've seen young families come to town, and of course, they'll have children in the elementary levels.  And jobs are being created, some by the AG sector, some by the oil activity.  Even though we're on the fringe of it, there's still people moving here for housing," adds school board president Jan Kostad.

On Tuesday, November 19, residents in the Kenmare School District will be asked to decide the fate of their schools.  The School Board has proposed a $14 million building project that would combine the elementary school with the secondary school. 

"How this discussion got started was because of a gym.  We wanted a secondary gym, and as the discussion went on the thought was to add classrooms and to expand the VO AG area," says Mueller. 

"Our classroom space is full at this point, so we started looking at portables (classrooms).  We kind of felt that wasn't a good idea, those are temporary in nature, so we leaned towards doing the elementary facility at the same time," says Kostad.

A study by construction company Kraus-Anderson has shown it may be more cost effective to rebuild the elementary school at the high school location.  It would take almost $10 million to renovate the brick building and bring it up to code.  Some of the buildings in the area are 50, 60 years old, and have to worked on often.  Muller and Kostad believe some buildings have out-lived their functionality.

However, taxpayers in the Kenmare School District would see an annual increase of about $250 to $270 dollars on a $100,000 dollar piece of property. 

"Compare the cost of what we call priority 1 and 2 costs to maintain those properties, versus building new, we're looking at something that will be here for the next 40 to 50 years," says Kostad.

The plans have been proposed and presented, now it's up to the community to decide the outcome. 

The bond vote for the Kenmare Public School District will be held next Tuesday November 19th.  Voting will be open 8:00 a.m. to 7:00 p.m. at the Kenmare High School.

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