Plans for new construction at Dickinson High School moving forward

DICKINSON, N.D. - Plans are moving forward to address overcrowding at Dickinson High School. Last fall, we told you about how the building, which is more than 50 years old, is barely big enough to hold all the students. They're also facing other issues, like a failing HVAC system, and not enough space in classrooms.

With about 1,000 students roaming the halls at Dickinson High each day, there's a lot of bumping into one another.

“Especially by student affairs, that corner because there’s one hallway here, and one hallway here and then the gym right here so everyone is like shoving and it’s just so cramped up,” junior Kaitlyn McAlpine said.

Student Whitney Tiegs says she hasn't used her locker once in three years.

“I don't actually know where mine is,” Tiegs said. “I've been here three years and I don’t even know where it is because the only thing you can fit in them is a coat basically.”

It's just one of dozens of issues, and it's why the district is holding public forum. They're looking for approval of a referendum this spring to build onto the school, which would give them a total of about 311,000 square feet. Included in that is a career academy, auditorium and field house with a total capacity of about 1,600. Total cost: about $108 million. However, they're asking voters to approve a price higher than that, $115 million in preparation for building a new elementary school in a couple years.

“We are looking into the future so that we only want to do this once so that we can possibly get everything put into one referendum and that’s why we're asking the $115 million,” DHS principal Kevin Hoherz said.

Hoherz says each year they wait to build a new school, the cost will increase about 5 to 6 percent. If the referendum passes, they're hoping to move in in the fall of 2021.

Hoherz says the other part of the referendum will be to increase their debt limit from 5 to 10 percent. The vote will be on May 7.