The Roundup -

Williston's American State Bank Donates $500,000 To Innovation Academy


October 23, 2019 | View PDF

Pictured, from left: American State Bank & Trust Co. President/CEO Dave Hanson, Williston Public School District #1 Board President Joanna Baltes, WPSD#1 Board Member Heather Wheeler, ASBT Board Member Tammy Davidson-Sogard, WPSD#1 Superintendent Dr. Jeffrey Thake, WPSD#1 Board Member Tom Kalil, ASBT Chairman of the Board Pat Sogard, ASBT Board Members Earl Rennerfeldt, Rick Tofte, Ryan Geltel and Ken Heen. (Photo submitted)

Williston, ND - The Board of Directors of American State Bank & Trust Company of Williston recently approved an anchor donation of $500,000 to the Williston Public School District #1 Innovation Academy. The anchor donation from ASB, combined with many other community, business and energy industry sponsors and a major grant from Williams County, has made it possible to begin remodeling the former indoor pool facility into a dedicated learning space for approximately 400 fifth through eighth grade students.

"American State Bank & Trust is proud to support the school district's efforts to increase classroom capacity in response to many years of significant increases in student enrollment," Chairman of the Board Patrick Sogard said. "It is important to ASB that our community has quality education facilities and we are excited to also honor the history of the building and the bank's long-standing relationship with the family of the late Dr. Edward J. Hagan," he added.

The Davidson family has owned the bank for its 113 year history.  During this time, the Davidson and Hagan families have had close ties. ASB Director Tammy Davidson-Sogard noted that for decades the Davidson and Hagan family homes were located one lot apart on 2nd Avenue East: "My dad and Dr. Hagan grew up on the same block and remained close friends throughout their lives. In addition to being a decorated WWII hero and practicing medicine in Williston for the remainder of his adult life, Dr. Hagan was a member of the ASB Board of Directors for 53 years. Giving new life to a building that opened in 1969 and was known as the Hagan Indoor Pool has special significance to the Davidson-Sogard family and ASB," she added.

Pat Sogard explained that, after the most recent failed bond vote, the ASB Board of Directors had been contemplating a way to provide a significant show of support for the youth of Williston. He said, "when the announcement of plans for the Innovation Academy came out in late July, our Board thought a substantial donation was the perfect way to show both community and financial support for the school district's efforts to improve Williston's education system."

A ground-breaking ceremony was held on Tuesday, October 15, and WPSD#1 School Board President Joanna Baltes announced the $500,000 donation to the public. Baltes said "We are incredibly grateful that American State Bank's historic donation allows us to launch the Innovation Academy which will provide desperately needed space to alleviate overcrowded classrooms in our schools and create the first purpose-built personalized learning environment in North Dakota." According to Baltes, construction has begun and the facility is expected to be open at the beginning of the 2020/2021 school years.

Members of the ASB Board of Directors are Tammy Davidson-Sogard, Patrick Sogard, Dave Hanson, Earl Rennerfeldt, Noel Hanson, Ken Heen, Laurie Furuseth, Rick Tofte, and Ryan Geltel.


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