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Sullivan: Input needed as growth continues

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opinion Dickinson, 58602

Dickinson North Dakota 1815 1st Street West 58602

The second semester of the school year is well underway and the winter weather is starting to moderate. While the weather is changing, one thing in the school district is not changing.

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New students have continued to enroll in the Dickinson School District throughout the months of January and February. This is a different experience as new students typically do not enroll in the school district during these months. We believe it represents the ongoing strength of the North Dakota economy and the desire of people to secure the jobs available through the oil development. As you are undoubtedly aware, the Dickinson Public Schools has been conducting a long-range facility planning process that is intended to position the school district from a facilities perspective for the next 20 to 25 years.

To date, the DLR Group consulting firm hired by the school board has conducted two of the three community forums for the long-range facility planning process. The second meeting was well attended with approximately 100 people in attendance. The third community forum will be conducted in March. This will be the final community forum conducted as part of the long-range facility planning process. After this forum is complete the DLR Group will finalize the report for the school board. Hopefully, these results will be presented to the school board at its April school board meeting. This will provide the school board with an opportunity to analyze the report and decide on the appropriate course of action.

The next public forum regarding the future facilities of the Dickinson Public Schools is scheduled for 7 p.m. Thursday, March 20, at Hagen Junior High School, 402 4th Street West. The DLR Group will once again be conducting the discussion during this public forum.

The discussion will include an update on the status of the project, a report of the community feedback received from the first two meetings and, finally, to provide the opportunity for community input regarding solutions and priorities to address the increasing enrollment in the school district.

This planning process was specifically designed to provide for significant community discussion and input into establishing the facility priorities for the school district. This community forum is an excellent process for constituents to contribute to the discussion.

It is the hope of the school board that community members will attend this meeting and be actively engaged in the discussion. Please place this important meeting on your agenda and plan to attend and participate in this discussion.

If you have any questions about this topic or any other issue in the Dickinson Public Schools, please do not hesitate to contact me at 456-0002 or through email at dsullivan@dpsnd.org.

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