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Bond issue passes in December

Submitted Graphic Design schematics depict what a new 9-12 school would look like if built on the grounds of the former Cognizant building. Architects are Ackerman-Estvold and LSE Architects. Also working on the project are CW Structural Engineers, Prairie Engineering, Kraus-Anderson, and Odney Advertising.

Voters in the Minot Public School District approved a combined $109 million bond issue in December that will address overcrowding at the middle and high school levels.

We’re thrilled and very grateful to a community that has always stepped up to support our kids when the need is there,” said Supt. Mark Vollmer after the vote, which passed overwhelmingly.

The project, which is scheduled to be completed in the fall of 2024, will include a new 9-12 high school that will be built at the site of the former Cognizant building on land in northwest Minot that was donated to the school district by Cognizant for the nominal fee of $10. Voters also approved construction of a competition swimming pool, new turf, and an athletic complex at the new high school. The project will include renovation of the existing building as well as additions.

Also funded will be renovation of Magic City Campus, currently an 11-12 campus, into a 9-12 high school. Central Campus, which currently is attended by students in grades 9-10, will be converted to a third in-town middle school.

Representatives of the district have said that the projects are badly needed. Voters had approved a bond issue in 2014 that funded the construction of the new John Hoeven Elementary and additions at Edison and Perkett Elementaries, but left the problem of overcrowding at the middle schools and high school campuses to a later date.

As of this year, Jim Hill Middle School is over capacity and is surrounded by 14 portable classrooms. The new Erik Ramstad Middle School, which was built after the previous Ramstad was destroyed by the flood of 2011, is already at capacity even though it was deliberately built larger than the previous school. School representatives have also said Minot is one of a handful of school districts in the country that has one 9-12 high school split between different campuses. They believe two 9-12 high schools would be better for students and will provide more opportunities for classes and extracurricular participation. Elementary school classes are larger than those currently in high school, so educators anticipate a continuing need for more space.

The school board canvassed the results of the election on Dec. 20 and the totals became final.

The next step will be putting out bids for the project and drawing up plans for the building projects.

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