Dickinson High School dealing with overcrowding

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BISMARCK, N.D. - Dickinson High School officials are looking at plans for a new or remodeled school. The current building was built in 1967 and doesn't have enough rooms for all the classes to be held in the building. Some say that's not the only problem: overcrowding, a lack of functional space and an outdated HVAC system are also issues.

In just a matter of seconds, hallways at Dickinson High go from empty to a madhouse of students looking to get from one class to another.

Dena Venneman is in her seventh year at DHS and says she went from a class size of 12 her first year, to about 28 now in each class. One last year had 33 students, making it hard to give students one on one time.

“Getting to know them and finding out what kind of learners are they, and being able to help them and keep them engaged, that is more challenging in a larger class size,” Venneman said.

Venneman says another issue is space. The classrooms are in a pie shape, and she says there isn't enough room for students to complete projects or work collaboratively.

“It's not a want, we need a new building,” DHS Principal Kevin Hoherz said.

Hoherz says they're sitting between 1,000 and 1,050 kids this year, which is about 75 more than they expected. He says they're looking at three options to remedy the situation: remodel, expansion, or a whole new building.

“We know we're going to have to adjust our schedule possibly or find other things, but, you know, that's the work that we'll do when the time comes,” Hoherz said.

He says they'll be offering community tours, and working with architects to hopefully put a bond before the community next spring on whatever project is decided. Hoherz says they're projected at about a four percent increase each year over the next couple of years.