- Associated Press - Monday, June 9, 2014

HOVEN, S.D. (AP) - School officials in Hoven are determining where to house about 50 students during the next school year, as they work on plans to rebuild the town’s junior and senior high school.

The building was destroyed in a May 25 fire. About 50 students will be displaced for at least the next school year. The students will attend classes either in portable classrooms or a former hospital near the elementary school, School Board President Mark Weber told the American News (https://bit.ly/1kcQKPA ).

“It does have a lot of potential not only for classrooms, but for offices, for a lab downstairs with eyewash stations,” he said. “But we’ve had offers for these portables that you can set up. It’s not been decided as of yet.”

A local church has offered its kitchen for use as a cafeteria.

The school board will use insurance money for the temporary facility and the new school.

“They’ll replace it at today’s standards, today’s specs, at whatever cost it will be,” Weber said.

Investigators believe the fire began in the attic above the gymnasium. They don’t suspect foul play.

The fire destroyed most of the school building, including portions built in 1940, 1962 and 1974, Weber said. An addition that was constructed in 1995 was not damaged enough to be razed, but it will have to be gutted and remodeled. Engineers and insurance adjustors were assessing the situation.

“They have to put that building back into service at what square footage we had and at today’s codes, up-to-date, everything,” Weber said.

“We don’t have all the blanks filled in yet. Of course, we’re going to have a lot of input from everyone,” he said.

The town of about 400 people in northern South Dakota has lost a big part of its history, said Linda Dean, who graduated in 1982 - 41 years after her mother was a member of the school’s first graduating class.

“You walk by or you drive by, and the memories just flow out of there,” Dean said.

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Information from: Aberdeen American News, https://www.aberdeennews.com

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