- Associated Press - Friday, April 18, 2014

POWERS LAKE, N.D. (AP) - When efforts to fund a $7.5 million school construction project in Powers Lake fell $1 million short, students turned to their piggy banks.

In six days, the 105 elementary school students in the northwestern North Dakota town raised nearly $1,200 in pennies and other coins - an average of more than 1,100 pennies per student.

While the money won’t be enough, the effort made the students feel like they were contributing, Superintendent Marlyn Vatne told the Minot Daily News (https://bit.ly/1hSruBX ).

“It was their initiative,” Vatne said. “It makes them feel part of it and makes them feel like they have some ownership (in the school).”

A building addition is needed because of the rapid growth experienced by the school district on the edge of the oil boom in western North Dakota. Enrollment at the elementary school has nearly tripled in four years.

The project would add 11 classrooms at the high school to put the elementary and the high school under the same roof, and build a new cafeteria. It is being funded through loans, a state grant, a bond issue passed by voters last October and donations. The district has set up a through the North Dakota School Foundation to try to reach the $7.5 million goal.

If the additional money isn’t raised, the district will be forced to scale back the project.

“We would not be able to add four of the classrooms, which is pretty essential for what we want to do,” Vatne said.

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Information from: Minot Daily News, https://www.minotdailynews.com

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