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Roof, mold issues take top priority for Belfield school

Belfield Public School has several projects in the works. Kayla Henson / The Dickinson Press

During its December meeting, the Belfield Public School Board discussed upcoming projects — both planned and potential — including repairing the roof, replacing bleachers and the press box, and building a new school.

In the beginning of November, staff at Belfield first noticed sweating on the walls in one of its classrooms. The maintenance crew looked into it but weren't able to determine a cause.

"It occurred so fast," said Superintendent Wade Northrop. "It's just like each day it got worse. Then pretty soon you could see more and more of it."

Contractors and the state building inspector went into the attic.

"We got condensation problems up there," Northrop said. "It's due to the change in weather that we had this year. We had that cold weather in October, November, then it got warm. We didn't know that we were having those problems up there, so it formed a lot of water up there."

They also found mold, so Northrop hired a company to complete air quality tests.

"We did air samplings in all the classrooms in the three story, at all levels, and the hallways," he said. "They're all good. It's safe for our staff and our students to be there at this time, but we have to get that fixed."

The air quality in the counselor's room was not up to par, so she has been moved until the situation can be resolved.

The school is waiting on an estimate before it can move forward. Depending on how long it takes, they will have the air tested again.

Once that project is complete, the school will likely order a new set of bleachers to replace those on the south side of the field. The estimated $60,000 project will be compliant with Americans with Disabilities Act and will seat about 210 people.

They also hope to renovate the school's press box, which Northrop said is too small.

"Our press box is just not large enough anymore to accommodate our coaches, our clock keepers," he said. "We have some games where we'll be on radio. Most teams — or I should say probably all teams — have people that video their games."

They do not yet have an estimated cost.

The school board also discussed the possibility of building a new school.

The district is still waiting on the results of its feasibility study to determine public opinion. Northrop said they have received about 200 responses between online and paper surveys, but about 1,200 surveys were mailed.

He said of the surveys they have received so far, most of them are in favor of the project.

They company the district hired to complete the survey should have information for the school board at its next meeting, Northrop said.

"They will probably be able to give the board some advice on if they feel like the study is successful enough to where we can actually go out and say we're going to try to raise money to build a new school," he said.

In other business, the board accepted Northrop's retirement. His position will likely be posted in January, but he will finish out the school year at Belfield.

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