The Minot Public School District is still waiting for word on whether it will get full funding from the Federal Emergency Management Agency to rebuild Erik Ramstad Middle School in a north Minot location.
FEMA will provide $24.5 million to replace Ramstad, representing about 90 percent of the replacement cost, while $5 million has been set aside for replacement of Lincoln Elementary. Another 7 percent of the replacement costs for the schools will eventually be picked up by the state, while 3 percent will be the responsibility of the school district.
Supt. Mark Vollmer said Thursday the sticking point continues to be the location where Ramstad should be built. FEMA has said Ramstad is not located in a flood plain and according to FEMA rules it could be rebuilt in its old location. If it is built in a north Minot location, as the school board plans, FEMA could declare the school an "improved project" and would not pick up the cost of the purchased land, sewer and water and athletic fields or other such additions. If the Ramstad project is put on the improved projects list, it could cost the district an additional $5.5 million out of pocket for the project.
"We want to keep it off the improved project list," said Vollmer.
Vollmer said he spoke with FEMA officials again on Thursday and is pushing for the regional director to declare the school eligible for relocation due to repeated heavy damage. Vollmer said in his opinion the school qualifies for relocation because it has suffered repeated heavy damage both during the 1969 flood and more extensive damage in this summer's flood. Vollmer said the project is being reviewed with "new eyes" at FEMA and he hopes for an answer soon.
The school district also considers it necessary to build Ramstad in a new location because of the possibility it could flood again or that students would not be able to reach the school to attend classes if areas of Minot had to be evacuated during a future flood. FEMA rules would also require that flood protection at the old site be a foot higher than last summer's flood crest. It is considered more cost effective to build in north Minot.
Ramstad is currently operating out of the Minot Municipal Auditorium with additional temporary classrooms on the site that are being funded by FEMA. Lincoln is located at First Presbyterian Church with one portable classroom on site. The district will build additions at Lewis and Clark and Longfellow elementaries to replace Lincoln.