Seventh-grade student council members like what they hear so far about the new Erik Ramstad Middle School.
"(I'm going to like the) outdoor classroom," said Chandler Albertson, one of five students who attended a ground-breaking ceremony Thursday afternoon for the new school.
Seventh-grader Brenna Tschetter thinks it will be nice to have so much glass to let the sun into the library and other parts of the school.
Andrea Johnson/MDN • From left to right, Erik Ramstad Middle School seventh-grade student council members Tara Presley, Kali Askvig, Anne Foisy, Brenna Tschetter and Chandler Albertson pretend to shovel dirt at the groundbreaking for the new middle school in northwest Minot.
Anne Foisy said it will just be nice to be in a real middle school, since attending middle school in the temporary location at the Minot Municipal Auditorium is getting a bit old.
Brenna also thinks it's good that the new school is going to be built so far northwest. It is located along 36th Avenue and 8th Street Northwest, well out of range of the Souris River that destroyed the old middle school building.
"God would have to flood the world before (the school) floods," said Brenna.
It's also near the airport, so kids might hear the distant roar of airplanes. They don't think it will bother them much.
"We're Ramstad Rockets," said Chandler. "We'll adjust."
The new middle school is scheduled to be completed by the start of the 2013-2014 school year, so this year's batch of seventh-graders will be the first eighth-graders to graduate from the new school. Their class started its sixth-grade year at the Municipal Auditorium.
"We're used to it," said Chandler. "We've never been in a real middle school."
Brenna pointed out that some of the kids had attended other events at the old Ramstad, like athletic practices or programs for older siblings.
The kids got to don hardhats for the groundbreaking ceremony, which was attended by school administrators, school board members, Gov. Jack Dalrymple and Sen. John Hoeven, R-N.D., as well as representatives for Sen. Kent Conrad, D-N.D., and Rep. Rick Berg, R-N.D.
New Ramstad principal Ione Sautner said she has been involved in planning the design for the new school and everyone is excited at the prospect of being in a new building.
"We believe out of great crisis comes great opportunity," said Supt. Mark Vollmer "Today marks great opportunity for the Minot Public Schools."
Vollmer said the new state-of-the-art middle school will house up to 720 students, helping address the needs of a city population that is shifting to the north.
Hoeven and Dalrymple both said the new school represents the combined efforts of local, state and federal individuals and agencies.
Hoeven said a total of $49.5 million in federal money has been invested in rebuilding schools in the district following the flood of 2011. The new Ramstad will be a $35 million building, with $27 million of that from federal funding. It would not have been possible without the state stepping in to fill some of the gaps between what the federal government was willing to pay and what the district required, said Hoeven.
The Federal Emergency Management Agency had originally decided that the district should rebuild the school at the old site, but the district felt it was necessary to rebuild elsewhere where there was no possibility of the school being flooded again. State dollars helped make up some of the difference.
"This is an investment in our kids and in our future," said Hoeven.
Work on the site of the new Ramstad is already under way.