- Associated Press - Sunday, April 10, 2016

BISMARCK, N.D. (AP) - School officials are looking into expanding Bismarck’s three public middle schools.

The Bismarck Tribune (https://bit.ly/1STGv6V ) reports the expansions may come after the school board studies costs.

“We want an architect to focus on the renovation of the three middle schools rather than construct a fourth school,” Bismarck School Board president Lawrence King said.

Both options have been considered by the school district with the number of students increasing and putting middle schools past capacity. A firm decision on what to do hasn’t been made by board members, though King said they want the current feeder system funneling students from elementary schools into designated middle and high schools to be maintained.

According to preliminary estimates, adding a middle school would cost roughly $35 million, while making additions to the existing three middle schools would cost $18 million. Board members have directed the district to find an architect to verify costs.

That architect would also investigate renovation costs meant to ensure Bismarck and Century high schools aren’t lacking amenities of the new Legacy High School. There’s no auditorium at Bismarck. King said Century’s auditorium could use upgrades, and that the school’s capacity may need to rise from 1,200 to 1,500 students.

King said the school board will talk about how to finance school upgrades at the next board meeting scheduled for April 18. He said funding options include applying for construction loans or looking at a public bond referendum vote.

The board doesn’t want to increase property taxes severely, Superintendent Tamara Uselman said.

“They are very sensitive to that,” she said.


Information from: Bismarck Tribune, https://www.bismarcktribune.com

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