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DPS to open Prairie Rose expansion bids

The Dickinson Public School Board will open bids in late July for the expansion of Prairie Rose Elementary School.

Assistant Superintendent Vince Reep presented the latest plans for the expansion at the year-old facility before board members Monday, and said Wednesday that the board could be ready to begin reviewing bids as early as July 23.

“We’re shooting for within that week,” he said. “Hopefully we can get some good bids and the board can approve the project at the Aug. 11 meeting.”

The plans, developed by Hulsing and Associates architect Jan Prchal, who worked on the initial designs for the school, would add six classrooms, an office area for the vice principal and a multi-purpose room onto the existing structure.

Reep said that though the school was designed specifically for easy expansion, the district didn’t expect to do work so early.

“Even though we just opened Prairie Rose last fall, our district has just grown so rapidly,” Reep said.

Enrollment in kindergarten through sixth-grade classes has grown 220 students since last May. Prairie Rose will absorb much of that growth to make room at Jefferson and Lincoln Elementary schools, both of which underwent their own expansions a few years ago.

“Just about every day there’s new students registering at the central office,” school board President Kris Fehr said. “We do need to provide for those students.”

The $2.5 million project will be funded in large part by rapid growth funds — around $800,000 the board has already received and another $600,000 in anticipated funds, Reep said. The rest will come from the district’s capital projects fund.

Reep and Fehr both said they expect bids to come in within budget.

Construction will start this fall and continue through the school year.

The district is planning for its next major expansion will be a new middle school. In April, the school board approved a bond referendum for a $65 million school, with a vote planned for October 7.