The Roundup -

The Alexander Public School Gets Well-Deserved Renovations

 

Alexander Public School Superintendent Leslie Bieber.

The Alexander School in Alexander, ND has gone through many needed changes in the last year. It all began two years ago when school officials began discussing the need for school expansion. At the time they had brought in a modular classroom to house the 5th and 6th grade students. From there, a demographic study was done, and then an architectural firm was hired to determine the cost for the necessary expansion and renovations.

In October of 2014 the $17.1 million bond went before voters and passed with an 86% yes vote. The total cost of the project was $17.4 million, which included $300,000 in grants. Kraus Anderson Construction and Management were hired for the job, and they broke ground on the addition that would double the square footage of the school in August of 2015. In September after the first varsity volleyball game in 12 years, the north wall of the gymnasium shifted away from the building during the excavation process.

"Thanks to the East Fairview School and Williston State College, we were able to continue our volleyball season," said Superintendent Leslie Bieber. "After that, everything else went smoothly."

The actual cost came to be less per square foot than predicted, which allowed funding to remove asbestos from the ceilings and floors of the original part of the school.

"Removing asbestos from the building meant everything had to be out down to the last pencil. Everything," Bieber said. "The High school students were key in helping move everything out and the staff was phenomenal. They put in the time and went above and beyond. When the asbestos removal company came, they told me that they'd never seen a school so prepared and it's because the staff and students care. They are invested in this school and in the town. It was the same thing when we moved back in; everyone pitched in."

The construction of the new addition took place over the course of a year, but all other renovations occurred over the summer of 2016. The Alexander School was opened to teachers on Aug. 19th and students Aug. 23rd.

Eleven new classrooms have been added as well as a second gym, fitness center, and new kitchen and cafeteria. Having students eat lunch in the gym took two hours out of the available gymnasium time per day, so now teachers have more time to get their students up and active during physical education classes. The new fitness center will be open to the community soon, and Bieber commented that she'd already had people interested in starting fitness classes. Additionally, the rest of the school received some much-needed renovations. The science lab, library, and administrative suite have all seen welcome changes. The existing bathrooms were brought up to ADA compliance and a Special Education bathroom was included as well. The extra space has allowed for the high school to have a wrestling team, which they haven't had before and the rest of the school received new paint and flooring. Bieber opened the school for tours during Old Settlers Day.

The renovations allowed for an expansion of the school's library.

"The best compliment I got was from alumni who couldn't tell the difference between the new and existing part of the building," Bieber commented. "I didn't want people to view the existing building as ''old'. I wanted all of it to look new."

The school welcomed the addition of School Resource Officer, Deputy Chris Cloud this year. Having the School Resource Officer (SRO) not only provides a measure of security at the school, but students are given an opportunity to view law enforcement officers as people who care about them and ultimately have their best interests at heart. The SRO's office will be available to all area deputies.

The Alexander School has 184 students, including preschoolers, and 24 educators. Bieber plans to have an open house sometime in mid-October.

 

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