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Press Photo by Bryan Horwath The closed former Fryburg school sits vacant on a recent December afternoon. By sometime in 2014, the complex could be transformed into an extended stay motel or crew camp.

Old Fryburg school could become lodging facility

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FRYBURG — Long in the works, the sale of the old school complex here to be turned into a lodging facility could be completed early next year.

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Though it has been closed since 2000, the 21,000-square-foot Fryburg school complex is still owned by Louisiana-based Energy Resources Group, though an agreement in principal has been reached with a new buyer, according to the Energy Resources’ realtor.

“There is a sale pending,” said Alan Butts of Pifer’s Auction & Realty. “Nothing is final as of yet, but we’re moving forward on a purchase agreement between the seller and a company from Alabama.”

A company called Bakken Suites, with a Gulf Shores, Ala., address listed, submitted a building and zoning certificate application with Billings County that was scheduled to be addressed at a September Billings County Commission meeting, said county tax and zoning director Stacey Swanson.

No action was taken regarding the zoning request, Swanson said, because of a request from Bakken Suites to postpone the application.

“They’re planning to be on the agenda for January,” Swanson stated in an email. “But they need to respond by December 26 to confirm their spot on the agenda.”

The original application listed Oct. 5, 2013, as a construction start date for the commercial project, which would feature the addition of a number of lodging buildings to complement the existing school complex, which already features a cafeteria and locker rooms, according to the application.

The exact nature of any new facility, however, is unknown, though it could include an “extended stay motel” and a restaurant and conference center, according to a notice put out by Billings County regarding Bakken Suites’ application.

A modern 200-unit crew camp facility was originally planned to be completed on the Fryburg site in August of 2012, according a story that appeared in The Press in May of that year. Energy Resources executive Marc Barra said a tentative agreement with a prospective tenant for the crew camp fell through and that Energy Resources had been looking for a buyer that would be “a good neighbor to our friends in Fryburg.”

A call to a number listed for Billy Spruiell of Bakken Suites on Dec. 20 was unanswered and a message stated the voice mailbox for the number was full. The application was signed by Spruiell on Aug. 27 and was received by Billings County on Aug. 29.

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Bryan Horwath
A Wisconsin native, Horwath has been covering news in the Oil Patch of North Dakota since 2012. Horwath currently serves as the senior agriculture and political reporter for The Dickinson Press and, despite the team's tendency to always let him down, remains a diehard Minnesota Vikings fan.
(701) 456-1207
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