Mandan News

Wilfred Volesky: Upcoming changes in school facilities


During the 2010 year there will be a number of changes that will occur with district facilities. I would like to highlight the changes that will be taking place.

On Jan. 4, the newly constructed wing at the Mandan Middle School was occupied with an enthusiastic group of sixth grade students. The construction of this wing was to be completed by Dec. 15. The wing was actually completed by Nov. 15. As soon as we had access to the facility the Middle School Principals, the GPA Principal and the staff at each facility were planning for the sixth grade move to the Middle School. In December all of the sixth grade students were brought to the new wing to go through the classrooms, learn their new locker combination and to learn more about their new environment. The sixth grade also had a Christmas concert in the Cafetorium at the Middle School. After the concert parents and students were invited to go through the new wing to give parents a view of the surroundings that their child would soon be occupying. In December many boxes of materials were transferred from the GPA to the Middle School. On Dec. 28, the custodians from all facilities helped move all student desks, filing cabinets and other similar equipment from the GPA to the Middle School. Based on a map, drawn by the teacher that was going to occupy a classroom, the custodians did their best to set up each classroom.

Last fall the Mandan School Board decided that they were not going to move forward with building a track at the Middle School until we were completely done with the new wing. They wanted to make sure that we had the necessary revenue to complete the Middle School wing as designed before we started another project. Now that the project is totally complete the school board plans to build a track around the middle school football field. This project should be completed this summer. A track will not only relieve the overcrowding that occurs each year when high school and middle school students practice on the same facility, but will also serve as a physical education facility for the three grades at the Middle School.

At the present time we are considering the sale of the Great Plains Academy. The school board is waiting upon an Attorney General’s opinion on whether it is lawful to transfer the property from the school district to the city of Mandan. The reason that the school board would like to transfer the GPA to the city is so that we can request a potential buyer to provide us with information as to their plan for the future use of this facility. The school district does not have the authority under state law to ask potential buyers for that kind of information while the city of Mandan does have the authority to do so. By knowing what the future use of the facility will be we can make sure that a potential buyer does not use part of the facility and then let the remaining facility deteriorate and become an eyesore in the community. Our hope is that the facility will be transformed into an asset for the community and return to the tax roll in the future. We hope to get the GPA facility placed on the market within the next several months.

We have also been advertising and trying to sell the Central Administration Building. The CAB has been shown by our realtor a number of times. So far we have not been presented with any offers, but it does appear that we have several buyers that are very interested in the property.

The Sschool district will be taking possession of the Community Center on July 1. We plan to get all preliminary work, such as soliciting bids for the remodeling of the facility, done in advance of July 1. This will allow us to begin to remodel the facility as close to July 1 as possible. It is anticipated that the remodeling will take about seven months to complete, which would allow us to move into the Community Center in February 2011.

Once the Community Center is remodeled we will be moving all of our administrative offices along with our technology staff, currently located at the CAB, to the Community Center. In addition the Morton/Sioux Special Education administrative staff, their coordinators and the occupational and physical therapy staff will be moving along with us. The High School will also move the carpentry classes, the health careers classes, a communications technology class and several designed drafting classes to the Community Center. We plan to retain a similar sized gym floor in the Community Center for physical education classes. This will relieve some of the pressure off of the high school gym, which currently is used every period of the day and at times has classes that are larger than they should be. We are looking forward to the additional space that the Community Center will offer us.

The problem with having the GPA and CAB on the market at the same time is that we need at least one of the facilities for our administration offices for at least another year. We will need one of the facilities until the Community Center is remodeled and we can move our offices into that facility. If the CAB were to sell in the near future we would need to move our administrative offices to the GPA until the renovation of the Community Center is complete.

This summer we will again be doing a great deal of maintenance work on many of our school facilities using the one-time supplementary funds that we received from the state the last legislative session. These funds will allow us to take care of maintenance issues that we did not plan to complete within the next five years.

I think you would agree that we will have a lot of changes occurring with district facilities within the next year. Once that year is over we should be very pleased with the facilities that we have provided for our middle and high school students, and for our administrative staff.