September 10, 2008

Bismarck Looks at New School Options


Construction costs could determine the size of a new elementary school in Bismarck.

The Bismarck School Board decided on plans to build a school that holds 400 to 480 students. The size depends on the cost of construction bids the district hopes to get in January. The district wants to keep the project within $12 million.

The school, which will be built east of Centennial Road near the KOA Kampground, will have about 400 students. The board considered options to build a school to hold 560 students, along with the plans for a school for 480 students and 400 students. The difference is the number of classrooms.

"We're reluctant to change the size of classrooms and media center," Superintendent Paul Johnson said.

In the proposal for a 560-student school, it has 28 classrooms and is about 78,500 square feet. The 480-student school has four fewer classrooms and is about 72,600 square feet. The 400-student school has eight fewer classrooms than the 560-student school plan and is about 66,900 square feet.

If it is built at a smaller size, classrooms could be added later, Johnson said.

The board also considered the size of the gym as a cost-cutting measure. The plans call for a 60-foot-by-120-foot gym, or the board could opt for a 60-foot-by-90-foot gym.

The gym would ideally accommodate two physical education classes at the same time. The Bismarck Parks and Recreation District would like the district to build a minimum of a 60-foot-by-90-foot gym so it could use it for adult recreation. Ideally, the park district wanted a 75-foot-by-100-foot gym to accommodate more activities simultaneously.

The park district deeded four acres of land adjacent to the new school site to the school district.

The school should be built in time for the 2010-11 school year. It would ease crowding at north Bismarck schools. The crowding was caused by the start of all-day, every-day kindergarten, which took additional space, and additional enrollment.

(Reach reporter Sara Kincaid at 250-8251 or [email protected])

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