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Thompson, N.D., weighs school addition project

Residents in the Thompson (N.D.) Public School district will decide next month if they want a $4.5 million expansion. Growing enrollment means more space is needed at the school, which houses kindergarten through senior high classes, officials sa...

Rendering of addition to Thompson school
Rendering by Mutchler Bartram Architects

Residents in the Thompson (N.D.) Public School district will decide next month if they want a $4.5 million expansion.

Growing enrollment means more space is needed at the school, which houses kindergarten through senior high classes, officials say.

Over the past five years, population growth in south Grand Forks have added 60 more students for a total of 455 students, said elementary school Principal John Maus.

Without an expansion, he said, the district can't start a pre-kindergarten program and all the students will continue to share two computer labs built to hold a fraction their number, he said.

The approval of at least 60 percent of voters is needed on Nov. 26 to raise property taxes by 30 mills for the next two decades, which will pay for most of the project. Existing district funds will pay for the remainder.

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For the owner of a $100,000 home, it means an additional $135 in taxes in 2014.

Squeezed

The addition will include a gym, classrooms for the band, choir and science classes, said Maus.

He has been co-managing the project in the absence Superintendent Jerry Bartholomay, who fell ill in January.

More than 25 students have enrolled in kindergarten in recent years, forcing the school to convert the elementary-school computer lab into a classroom this fall, according to district documents.

With the addition, space will be freed up, allowing them to be used for study halls, a pre-kindergarten class and other classes, Maus said.

If voters approve, the district wants to get bids out right away, he said. With a majority of voters on board with the project already -- more than half of voters from the last election were surveyed and say they support the project -- he hopes construction can start as early as this spring, he said.

"We're hoping to open in fall 2015," he said.

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For this school year, though, the district is considering mobile labs and needs space to accommodate new online testing next year, he said. "We're doubling up a lot" in the rooms, he said.

On the Web: For more on the project, go to www.thompson.k12.nd.us .

Call Johnson at (701) 787-6736, (800) 477-6572 ext. 1736 or send e-mail to jjohnson@gfherald.com .

Related Topics: EDUCATIONTHOMPSON
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