GRAFTON, N.D.-Three Walsh County schools districts will unveil new buildings or major renovations when school starts next week.
Grafton Public School students will learn in a new middle school at the School Road campus when doors open Aug. 26.
"It's the finishing touch to put all three district schools-elementary, middle and high schools-under one roof," Superintendent Jack Maus said.
The $18 million Grafton project includes the new school, a new auditorium and gymnasium, and remodeling of classrooms and offices at the site, which also is home to Central Elementary School and Grafton High School.
Other major Walsh County school projects include a $11.4 million renovation in Park River, N.D., and a $5.8 million expansion and renovation in Minto, N.D.
In addition to the elementary, middle and high schools, all four of Grafton's pre-K classrooms will be at the same location.
The School Road campus is also home to North Valley Career and Technical Center, which is connected to the school complex. Owned by the Grafton School District, the space is rented to participating school district.
Having all schools at one location is expected to save the district money by "sharing staff and administration between schools," Maus said.
While the classroom portion of the new Grafton school has been completed, work will continue until early to mid-September on finishing touches in the auditorium and other areas.
Grafton's enrollment, which was 1,037 last year, is estimated to be at about 1,050 this year.
Meanwhile, the Grafton School District has put the former Central Middle School up for sale. The school is located near downtown Grafton.
The building, which contains nearly 87,000 square feet, was built in 1935, with an addition in 1955.
Maus said the district currently has two potential buyers, both of whom are exploring the possibility of converting the building into apartments, possibly assisted-living housing. The district is offering the building for one dollar.
"The cost to demolish the building would be $500,000 to $800,000, so we don't have to pay for that," he said. "The building is structurally sound."
The $11.4 million project for Park River Area Schools includes a school addition, as well as a renovated elementary school. The project also includes administrative offices, a gymnasium, lockers and a school fitness center.
The elementary school portion of the project is being completed this week, while the addition is expected to be finished by January, according to Superintendent Kirk Hamm.
The project originally was estimated at about $9 million.
"Bids came pretty high," he said. "We made some changes, and we're holding off on some roofing, but we stayed pretty much true to what we sold the voters."
The proposed project also addresses security issues, as well as improvements to the heating and cooling system.
Park River's K-12 enrollment was 435 last year.
Classes will open on time Aug. 26 at Minto Public School, despite major construction yet to be done on a $5.8 million renovation and expansion project.
"The remodel is very close," Superintendent Linda Lutovsky said.
The remodeling includes new windows, doors, heating, lights, and electrical and plumbing work.
"A good portion of it is deferred maintenance," she said.
The floor has been poured and supports are going up on a building addition that will include four new classrooms, plus a new boys bathroom.
School staff has been spread all over the community since construction began in May.
District offices have been temporarily located in Ewald Plaza, an office building in downtown Minto, a town of 600.
Building owner David Gerszewski of Grand Forks basically donated the space, Lutovsky said, by charging $40 in rent, but making a $40 donation to the school district.
Minto's K-12 enrollment was 225 last year. The district added a preschool section for this year, according to Lutovsky.