Growing pains: JDA hosts round table to discuss growth concerns
KILLDEER — Infrastructure, housing, child care and how to deal with growing schools were three of the biggest issues leaders of Dunn County and its cities brought to a round table discussion Saturday afternoon.
Organized by the Dunn County Jobs Development Authority, city, school and park board leaders, along with citizens of Dunn County, gathered at the American Legion to discuss some of the challenges facing the communities and to come up with collaborative solutions.
“Ten years ago we were all trying to figure out how to sustain what we had,” said Reinhard Hauck, Dunn County Commissioner and JDA Board Chairman. “Now we’re at the point where we’re trying to figure out how to provide the services for what keeps moving in on us.”
While neighboring Halliday has some room for growth in their school, Killdeer Public School has been expanding and is quickly running out of room, Killdeer Superintendent Gary Wilz said.
As the elementary sections grow, they’re pushing students in the junior high and high school out of their space, Wilz said. The district will purchase portable classrooms for the upcoming school year.
“I know people don’t want their kids in portables, but you don’t have a lot of choice when you need them in a rather quick fashion,” Wilz said.
Nearly half — 17 out of 40 — of Killdeer’s teachers live outside the district, Wilz said.
Plans are in the works to pave two well-traveled gravel roads, county commissioners Hauck and Donna Scott said. Roads traveling south from Highway 200 to Gladstone and South Heart will be paved to the Stark County line.
It’s been hard to find teachers who live within the district, even with the school-owned housing, Wilz said. There are a few teachers who commute from Dickinson. Some need to leave as soon as school is finished to pick up their children from daycare and cannot assist with extracurriculars.
When it comes to roads — as with all oil-related growth — Dunn County needs to prepare itself for more, not less, Halliday Commission President David Walth said.
“Traffic never decreases. It only increases,” Walth said. “We need to get ahead of it rather than behind like some communities have.”
Being able to get ahead of the anticipated needs will create fewer problems in the long run, Walth said.
“It’s hard to catch up,” Walth said. “We need to be more aggressive on a lot of those basic infrastructure issues. This isn’t gonna go away, it’s here, it’s going to be here. If we can plan ahead it would be much better.”