Ramstad Middle School ready for new life

Middle school students will enjoy a bigger school than the one that was destroyed by the 2011 Souris River flood when Erik Ramstad Middle School opens its doors next November.

The new building, under construction along 36th Avenue and Eighth Street Northwest, will be 130,000 square feet and hold 720 students. The old Ramstad was built to hold 550 students.

Minot superintendent Mark Vollmer said the school board has decided that 720 is the ideal number for a middle school.

In the one-story portion of the building will be special needs and technical education classrooms, a cafeteria area, a gymnasium, a swimming pool, and weight room. The academic wing of the building will be separate stories, with one floor for the sixth-graders, one floor for the seventh-graders and one floor for the eighth-graders.

Vollmer said the building will include easier access to technology and will have more open areas.

He said this building will let more natural light into classroom areas, which is a real trend in architectural structures.

“It will be a beautiful facility,” he said.

The new Ramstad will cost about $34 million. Money has been contributed by both the Federal Emergency Management Agency and the school district itself. School board members decided to make the building larger than the old Ramstad, so had to contribute district funds for the additional space.

The building had originally been scheduled to open in time for the start of school in August but has been delayed 60 days by a wet fall and winter snow storms.

Vollmer said board members decided to instead push back the move into the building to the Thanksgiving break. That will allow more time for the building to be completed and for teachers to move into the facility over the week-long break. The original construction timeline had been “very aggressive” and it could not be met, said Vollmer, who said there has been “no pointing of fingers” over the delay in construction.

Students will start classes in the Minot Municipal Auditorium, the building where classes have been held for the past two years. The city has agreed to allow the school district to remain in the auditorium for a few extra months, said Vollmer.