Work crews battled Monday to save Perkett Elementary from the flood waters that have already overtaken several Minot elementary schools since the flood began last week.
"Lincoln has been underwater since the start," said David Looysen, superintendent of Minot Public Schools. "Ramstad's under. (So are) the Head Start and Adult Learning Center. Longfellow's got water in it."
At Longfellow Elementary there was water in the south side and in the basement. Erik Ramstad Middle School was submerged after the diking system failed. Sunnyside Elementary has been protected so far and Roosevelt and McKinley elementary schools are both protected by a secondary diking system.
Bruce Anderson/MDN - - Photos show some of the efforts by National Guard members to keep water off the school building at Perkett Elementary in west Minot.
It was Perkett Elementary that could still be saved and might yet be lost.
"At Perkett we didn't have trucks to haul in clay when we started that dike so we started it with soil from the playground area," Looysen said. "It's not the best material in the dike, but that's the only way we could get going on it. Now that dike is starting to deteriorate."
The National Guard brought in big sandbags to shore up the dikes, which they were attempting to do on Monday afternoon.
"We're trying to save Perkett, and hoping it will hold," Looysen said.
Looysen, who will officially retire on Thursday, said the situation is enough to bring tears to the eyes of anyone with blood in his veins. Of Minot's 13 elementaries, two have been submerged in the flood waters and a third is seriously threatened. Of Minot's three middle schools, one has been submerged. Central Campus Plus, where the district's alternative high school program for grades nine and 10 is housed, has also been submerged, as has the Head Start program building and the district's Adult Learning Center, where adult education and English as a Second Language classes are held.
"We don't know how we're going to get them all cleaned up in time for school," Looysen said, adding that there have been preliminary discussions about where to hold classes in the fall, but no firm decisions have been made. "I'm done on Thursday, but I'll stay on if they want me to," Looysen said.
Looysen said he hopes the water goes down faster than authorities say it will so that school personnel can get started with the cleanup effort. He said when the water has been pumped out of the schools, volunteers will be needed to help clean them up.
He also hopes that federal funding to aid in the cleanup and restoration will be forthcoming. Lewis and Clark Elementary, where Trinity Health has set up temporary services, had flood damage in the basement that the Federal Emergency Management Agency paid to have repaired. Now that school no longer has a problem with flooding, Looysen said.
Looysen said the school's custodial staff has been working around the clock since the flooding began.
"I didn't ever think I'd sit in my office and see a lake outside," said Looysen, who can see the flooded river from his window.