Planning starts for Minot Public Schools’ bond issue construction
Planning starts for Minot’s school construction
With voter passage of $109 million in bond issues last month, the real work to establish a second high school, including naming and selecting a mascot, is beginning, Minot School Superintendent Mark Vollmer told members of the local government Liaison Committee Thursday.
The district is working on a schematic design, to be completed next Monday, that will determine the layout and contents of a new school. Immediately upon completion of the schematic, the district will go into its design and development stage to create more detailed plans, with furniture and fixtures, Vollmer said.
By the spring, the goal is to move into construction drawings and prepare for the first project bidding.
“We’re feeling very good about the schedule. We should be easily able to make all of this transition by August of ’24,” Vollmer said.
The process of naming the new high school also is starting.
“Our goal is to by May 1 to have the high school named and a mascot and colors, and actually beginning freshmen team sports next year that will be representing that new high school,” he said.
Construction also will be needed to convert the existing Magic City Campus into a four-year high school and Central Campus into a middle school.
Some of the remodeling work is to start this summer at Magic City Campus. Among work planned to accommodate the transition to two high schools is another gymnasium, more locker space and changes to the science and career and technical education areas.
Vollmer said activity is expected to be less apparent this summer at the former Cognizant site, consisting of 37 acres in northwest Minot where the second high school will be built.
“That’s primarily because we have some soil correction work, which we knew going in was going to have to be done. But we also have wait time for the concrete prefabricated walls,” he said. “When that work gets rolling, it will roll and roll quickly. The work that will be starting at the Cognizant building is going to be a lot of interior remodeling that needs to be done, so you won’t necessarily see that work on the outside.”
Vollmer said the district has a design in mind for the existing Cognizant building, which will be expanded into the 115,000 square feet of open space as well as remodeled.
The district has applied for a $10 million career and technical education grant from the state to help with proposed construction.
“One of the big things we’re working on this spring is a realignment of our attendance boundaries. We started that work in 2020, and we had public meetings lined up to balance our elementary enrollments, and then COVID sent us home and everything got on the back burner,” Vollmer said.
As discussion resumes, the district needs to take into account demographic changes resulting from a new high school.
“We believe once that high school is in place that we will see tremendous growth in that part of town,” Vollmer said.
Boundary discussions will include which elementaries and middle schools will feed each high school and whether some type of split may be necessary for students at the new downtown middle school.
“Those decisions are going to be very emotional discussions, but exciting discussions for people,” Vollmer said. “I think we just need to realize that at the end of the day, we’re not going to be overcrowded. We’re not going to be stuffing kids in portable classrooms anymore, and we’ll be making our educational opportunities more equitable for kids.”