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Prairie Rose Elementary in Dickinson nearly ready for students

Construction on Prairie Rose Elementary School in Dickinson is complete and teachers are now moving into their classrooms.

Teachers began moving into Prairie Rose Elementary in northwest Dickinson on Friday, with a little more than two weeks to go before the beginning of the 2013-14 school year.

The amount of work that comes with setting up a school from scratch has been a bit overwhelming, Principal Sherry Libis said.

"I've never set up a school before so I guess I didn't know what to expect," Libis said. "Everything seems to be very well organized."

She's been in the school for about a week making sure furniture has been delivered to the correct classrooms and computers are hooked up and ready for students by Aug. 19.

"That was the big thing last week and this week getting some of our school furniture set up," Libis said.

With the exception of a part-time kitchen position and a few part-time playground supervisor spots, the school is fully staffed, Libis said.

Most of the 22-member faculty has transferred from other schools, but six teachers are new to the district this year.

Kelsey Vanyo was excited to set up her classroom. The 2013 Dickinson State University graduate is teaching kindergarten.

"It's actually the last thing that I expected," Vanyo said. "To be in the new building is nice, it's a little different than being in a school that has been around for several years."

The Richardton native has always had a soft spot for small children.

"I just love how they are," Vanyo said. "They just have a unique perspective on life. There's never a dull moment."

Music teacher Kayla Kilwien was waiting for supplies to arrive on Friday.

"I want to work so badly but there's nothing available yet," Kilwien said. "I'm anxious to see what they ordered. It's going to be like Christmas."

The Dickinson native went to school in Colorado and earned a degree in opera, then moved back home and completed her secondary education degree at DSU this spring.

"I did not think I would ever be an elementary music teacher," Kilwien said. "But when I was student teaching I enjoyed the kids and I thought that was really fun."

She plans to incorporate things like age-appropriate pop music into her classroom to engage her students.

"There's going to be a lot of stuff that I'm going to incorporate that they like," Kilwien said.

This won't be the first time Kilwien has had Libis as a higher-up.

"Miss Libis was my principal at Heart River," Kilwien said. "I was a student, and now I'm one of her teachers."

The grounds still have some work, but playground equipment is installed.

"The contractors that we have been working with in the building have just been really good to work with," Libis said. "They've done a great job in putting this building together."

The school was originally proposed at $11.5 million, but the final tab has yet to be settled, Libis said.

The most exciting moment comes in two weeks.

"I think the neatest part will come when our teachers and our staff and our students get to experience it for the first time," Libis said. "I think that will be the best part of it. Just getting to see kids see their brand-new school I think will be the best part of it."

Katherine Grandstrand
I graduated from Bemidji State University in 2007 with a bachelor's degree in mass communcations, from Columbia College Chicago in 2009 with a master's degree in journalism.  
(701) 456-1206