The Grand Forks School Board has approved an emergency declaration to allow the school district to move forward on repairing a structural failure of an elevator shaft and stairwell which was discovered in August at Red River High School.

The repair is expected to cost from $200,000 to $300,000, plus design fees, said Chris Arnold, director of buildings and grounds for Grand Forks Public Schools, at the board’s meeting held Monday, Sept. 9.

Work could start later this month and may be finished by late December, he said.

The elevator provides the only ADA accessibility for the basement and serves as a fire exit for students and staff in the basement, Arnold said.

The area has been closed off for safety reasons, and the Grand Forks Fire Department has been deemed safe for use with the stairwell closed, he said.

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To avoid disturbances to student learning, repair work will occur at night and on weekends, adding to the cost of the project, Arnold said.

The emergency declaration allows the district to bypass the bidding process, he said.

Failure to proceed immediately will likely result in further structural and equipment damage to the building, Arnold said.