By Associated Press - Saturday, August 23, 2014

DICKINSON, N.D. (AP) - Students, teachers and school officials at a Catholic school in Dickinson say they’re ready to return to their school after it was abruptly closed when someone set fire to it in March.

Classes will resume at Trinity High School starting on Monday. Steve Glasser, president of Dickinson Catholic Schools, said construction crews have worked around the clock for months to get the school ready for fall classes.

“We’ll be ready to teach and learn on Monday,” Glasser told the Bismarck Tribune ( ). “We’re going to be fine.”

Glasser has said getting the school ready has been the biggest priority, despite uncertainty surrounding who started the fire that destroyed administrative and classroom sections of the school.

In July, a judge dismissed charges against former principal Thomas Sander, who was accused of setting fire to the private high school. The decision to allow prosecutors to withdraw the charges came a week after a ruling that statements Sander made to police were improperly obtained and couldn’t be used at his trial.

While students will return to their old school, the building has changed in the last six months.

One classroom wing will remain closed, and administrators and some classrooms will be housed in portable modular buildings. The front office where the fire started is being torn down.

The cost to clean and salvage items from desks to textbooks is $3 million. Glasser has estimated that the insurance claim will be somewhere between $17 million and $20 million when the cleanup and repairs are complete.

Carter Fong, a social studies teacher at the school, said he feels like he did before he started his first year of teaching.

“I’m excited. There’s a lot to look forward to,” Fong said.

Mark Veverka, a senior who helped some teachers move back into the school, said he’s looking forward to returning. He said the time away from the school could’ve been worse.

“It was only for a half-year. It wasn’t too bad,” he said.


Information from: Bismarck Tribune,

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