Pair of portable classrooms arrive at Jim Hill Middle School

Published: Jun. 22, 2020 at 4:55 PM CDT
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The Minot City Council recently approved the addition of two new portable classrooms for Jim Hill Middle School, reignitinging the discussion on their safety and finding more permanent solutions for the spacing issues at the middle school level.

Portable classrooms at Jim Hill Middle School have been used as a temporary solution to address the growing issue of overcrowding.

The school already had five portable classrooms, and they just received two more ahead of the fall semester.

"The portables coming in will relieve some of the pressure. We're adding 50 or so students next year," said Jim Hill Middle School Principal Mike Arlien.

Arlien said the building capacity is 720, but at least 850 students are already enrolled for the coming fall semester.

“We've added rooms outside but it's inside the building where we really feel the crunch. The hallways, locker spaces, cafeteria space and even our gyms get really overcrowded,” said Arlien.

While portable classrooms help with some of the crowding, Minot's Fire Chief Kelli Kronschnabel warned that they are not the safest solution.

"I am more concerned after hours. It's not a monitored system in there, so if one should start on fire and it didn't get reported right away, we could lose two or three of them before it actually gets put out," said Kronschnabel.

Minot Public School Superintendent Dr. Mark Vollmer said administrators are looking for permanent solutions, but with an economic decline caused by a drop in oil prices and social distance advisories due to COVID-19 it would be better addressed in the fall.

"We need to have those conversations but we need people together to do that, so hopefully this fall we can begin discussion towards moving this work in the right direction," said Vollmer.

The school board will hold its next meeting July 23.

The new portable classrooms will be ready by the fall semester.