Western North Dakota is not only booming with oil, but also with the number of students flooding the schools.
All this week, Jim Olson is taking us on a tour of school districts in the region where student populations are on the rise.
He's found districts building new space, and others trying to get by with temporary classrooms.
Tonight, he takes us to Stanley, where the answer to a near-doubling in enrollment has been a major construction project.
(Dr. Kent Hjelmstad, Stanley Superintendent) "We're headed to 20,000 square feet of construction."
Dr. Kent Hjelmstad is no stranger to school growth. He oversaw some large projects when he was Mandan's superintendent. Now, at the helm in Stanley, he's bringing in another big building addition.
(Dr. Kent Hjelmstad, Stanley Superintendent) "A lot of good things are happening. Our bids came in reasonable and progress is amazing - companies are doing a good job for us."
The seven million dollar project got going as the school year ended in May - and it'll be a while before students are wandering these halls, probably the first of the year. But Hjelmstad is OK with the wait to get new, permanent space.
(Dr. Kent Hjelmstad, Stanley Superintendent) "We are building new facilities, not putting up modular classrooms. Some schools are forced to do that and I'm happy we're not. We're ready for the oil boom that'll last 40 years."
That rush has meant 180 new students in recent years - and probably about that many more this year alone. That almost doubles the enrollment in a handful of years. But remember that Stanley was a Class A school at one time with 70 yearly graduates. While that number shrank to closer to 30 a few years back, it could shoot back up to 70 or 80 if new projections pan out. So why is there a need for new space in a district that used to handle that size graduating class?
(Dr. Kent Hjelmstad, Stanley Superintendent) "School has changed tremendously in the last 40 years when these buildings were built. We have good buildings and great community support but we're bursting at the seams."
Another thing that's changed is the need to help faculty and staff find affordable places to live. Stanley school built two 4-plexes last year and hired 11 new teachers. There's been no major teacher hiring for this year - at least not yet.
(Dr. Kent Hjelmstad, Stanley Superintendent) "We're kind of saying show us the kids and we'll react. We think we can handle 100 new students without drastic staff needs so we're a little ahead of the curve but right now we're not sure what the curve is."
The curve right now ends up in this major addition to Stanley High School and a large project at the elementary school too.
(Dr. Kent Hjelmstad, Stanley Superintendent) "When the smoke clears we'll have 11 new classrooms and we're expecting another 175 students."
And there could be a phase two of building in a few years, if the gusher of new students continues to flow into schools like Stanley. Jim Olson, KX News.
Tomorrow, Jim moves farther east to Velva where a multi-million dollar addition will be ready for students within weeks.