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Red River High School dismisses students for 'roof issue'

School was let out early Wednesday for a "roof issue" at Red River High School. Photo by Lori Weber Menke/Grand Forks Herald

Red River High School dismissed all students Wednesday afternoon after a custodian noticed a sag in the roof over the school’s main office.

The employee reported the issue at around noon Wednesday, said Principal Kris Arason.

“I went up there and looked and could see the roof had some flex on it and was slightly sagging a little bit,” Arason said.

The school then contacted a structural engineer, the Grand Forks Fire Department and the city’s building inspector. The engineer told school leadership that the roof’s integrity hadn’t been compromised, but still recommended that all high school staff move out of the main office due to a large buildup of snow on the roof.

Arason consulted with School District leaders and opted to dismiss all students, too.

“If we can’t run our main office, then we can’t safely run the rest of the school,” Arason said.

Despite the sag, the roof doesn’t appear to be at risk of collapsing, he said.

City workers have begun removing snow from that portion of the roof, spokeswoman Tracy Jentz said via email.

Class was dismissed at about 1:40 p.m. Jentz notified families about the closure via a phone message.

When reached for comment Wednesday afternoon, Jentz said there had been no injuries, and that the roof remains intact. School was released early “out of an abundance of caution,” she said.

City staff are looking over beams in the school’s main office, she added.

Dan Niepow

Niepow covers social and community issues for the Grand Forks Herald. Before joining the paper, he worked as a magazine writer and editor. A graduate of the University of Wisconsin-Madison, he currently resides over the river in East Grand Forks, Minn. To reach Niepow with story ideas, send him an email at or call him at (701) 780-1110. Follow him on Twitter @dniep.

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