Williston, ND (KEYZ) Between 50 and 60 residents packed their way into a Lewis and Clark Elementary School Meeting room last night for the first of a series of public meetings by the Williston School District Number one to go over four recommendations to expand campus space on a select number of schools to alleviate overcrowding in the district. Board President Joanna Baltes says the first two proposals were not so attractive to the attendees due their lack of attention on the Williston High School expansion.
“So option one, is basically one 600 seat elementary school, with about seven-million dollars in upgrades for existing elementary schools, and nothing for the high school, so that would in 2020, we’d opening (the school year) with over capacity again,” she says.
The price tag for option one was about 37.5 million dollars. Option two calls for two new elementary schools at 30 million dollars a piece, with total seating capacity of 1200 students, nothing for the high school and seven million to spread across the remaining elementary schools for needed improvements. Neither one or two received a lot of applause due to the lack of attention to needs at Williston High School, which was at or near over capacity since the day it opened it’s doors in the fall of 2016. Option three was a favorite says Baltes.
“It includes one elementary school, but with a 750 student seating capacity, the same seven-million dollars for the upgrades at existing elementary schools, and then doing an expansion for the high school giving us an extra capacity for 225 students capacity and then adding on to the high school commons area, which is where the kids have lunch so that we have an additional 150 seats for lunchroom space. That gives it price tag of 50-million dollars and that’s with the district kicking in about three-and-a-half-million dollars from the building fund,” she says.
Option four is the same as three with the difference being the new elementary would be a so called six section school with seating capacity of 900.
“they didn’t like the fact that (3 and 4) came with such a big elementary school, but they did like that we were spreading out over every school population, so every school, every population whether it’s elementary, middle or high school gets something,” Baltes says.
A second meeting will be held next week at Rickard Elementary as the district gathers input on which plan to place on a special election ballot in January.