Supt. Mark Vollmer will ask the Minot Public School Board today to approve a school start date after Labor Day to allow more time for recovery from this summer's flood.
The board will meet at 4:30 p.m. today in the district's administration building.
Vollmer said the district is also asking the state to approve a shorter school year, which would enable the district to end school on time next spring and hold graduation as originally scheduled. Vollmer said he's asked the state to forgive five days so the school year will be 180 days instead of 185. The state can permit a shorter school year in extraordinary circumstances.
Andrea Johnson/MDN • A window is broken out and tape spread across an entrance at Erik Ramstad Middle School on Wednesday.
Photo courtesy of Minot Public Schools • The main entrance to Erik Ramstad Middle School suffered heavy flood damage, with layers of debris left behind by the Souris River.
Photo courtesy of Minot Public Schools • The ceiling, and at least one wall, collapsed in this classroom inside Erik Ramstad Middle School.
Photo courtesy of Minot Public Schools • The wood floor inside the new gymnasium at Erik Ramstad Middle School was warped by yflood waters. The gym was completed and in use for only a few months before the flood.
Vollmer has also asked the city to condemn Erik Ramstad Middle School, one of the flooded schools. The other flood-damaged schools are Lincoln and Longfellow elementaries and Minot High School-Central Campus Plus. The Adult Learning Center and the Minot Head Start building were also damaged.
"The damage that I saw in the Ramstad building was beyond words," said Vollmer, who said he doubts it will be possible to restore the building.
Vollmer said the roof is caved in on the south side of the building and there is massive structural damage. He said more than 30 walls in the building are caved in.
"I stopped counting at 30," he said.
The gymnasium completed earlier this year is severely damaged, with a blown out door and a wooden floor damaged beyond repair.
Vollmer said he isn't a structural engineer or a contractor and can't say whether any of it can be restored. He's asking the city to condemn the building because he believes it is unsafe for people who might go inside the building.
The district is finalizing plans to hold school at other locations, with students from Ramstad to be housed at the Minot Municipal Auditorium; students from Lincoln at First Presbyterian Church; students from Central Campus Plus to be housed on the grounds of the Quentin Burdick Job Corps Center; students from the Head Start to be housed in portable classrooms on the grounds of the Jefferson Early Childhood Center; and students from Longfellow to be housed in portable classrooms on the grounds of the elementary school. Adult Learning Center programs will be moved to the technical center addition at Minot High School-Magic City Campus.
The first of the portable classrooms will arrive Aug. 1. Vollmer said the portables are larger than typical portable classrooms. Each portable will house six, eight or 10 classrooms and two bathrooms with running water will be located in the center. Portables will be connected to each other by a breezeway which will enable students to walk from portable to portable without having to go outside. The portable villages will be utilized at the different sites where displaced students will attend class.
Vollmer said district officials have not discussed permanent plans for renovating or replacing the damaged schools. The district owns no land in north Minot where a replacement for Ramstad might be built other than already existing schools. The district has bought land in southeast Minot where it had hoped to build an elementary school at some point in the future.
Vollmer said the Federal Emergency Management Agency is evaluating the damage at all of the flooded buildings. He does not yet have a firm estimate for the amount of damage done, but believes all of the damage claims submitted are reimbursable.