A steady enrollment increase is causing concern for Minot Public School officials.
Since 2006, the district has experienced a 3.5 percent growth rate each year, with the exception of the year following the flood.
The kindergarten class is nearly double the size of the senior class.
As Jennifer Thorgramson explains, planning for the young population starts now.
1000 students in six years.
That's how much the Minot School District has grown since 2006.
(Mark Vollmer, Superintendent Minot Public Schools) "It's exciting to see that growth but it does create a concern."
Minot Public Schools has been successful in keeping class sizes small.
The trade off?
About one-third of Washington Elementary School is OUTSIDE the building.
(Mark Vollmer, Superintendent Minot Public Schools) "Portable classrooms, they've been a nice addition as a temporary solution to our concerns, but they are not a long term solution."
When Washington was built in 2006, there were five empty classrooms, now, nine forth and fifth grade classrooms are in portables.
(Kendo Carlson, Principal Washington Elementary) "We're out at the furthest portable right now, it's about 100 yards from the school. It's a pretty good jaundt to the farthest ones out."
(Corey Thorson, Assistant Principal Washington Elementary) "It does offer some challenges any time you have to go outside to get into the building for gym, music and even bathroom breaks."
Safety, weather, security, noise.
And the forth and fifth graders are not the BIG class to come.
In our 2013 Minot High graduating class, there are 440 seniors.
Compare that to our 753 kindergartners.
(Mark Vollmer, Superintendent Minot Public Schools) "We are going to be short of space in six years and if the growth continues at the same rate, we're going to be nearly one thousand desks short at the middle school level."
And desks are only the start of the problem.
(Cindy Mau, Principal Jim Hill Middle School) "All of those elementary kids are going to be funneled through Jim Hill. As their numbers continue to increase, so do we. "
This is one grade at Jim Hill shuffling toward the cafeteria.
Imagine all three moving through these halls.
Principal Mau says she doesn't want her kids lost in the crowd.
(Cindy Mau, Principal Jim Hill Middle School) "When it gets too crowded, I believe it effects their emotional well being. This is an age group that we really need to know our students well and be available to them in every way. I'm concerned that if it gets to crowded, it effects our school climate."
(Mark Vollmer, Superintendent Minot Public Schools) "Minot is a great place. It's a great place to raise a family. It always has been. We want to make sure that as Minot continues to grow, we have the schools an infrastructure we need here to make this community a very family place. It is now. And we want it to be in the future as well."
In Minot, Jennifer Thorgramson, KX News.
Superintendent Mark Vollmer has been in close contact with the legislature --- Minot Public Schools may qualify for rapid growth funds for the first time this year.
He says a portion of the expansion will fall to local taxpayers.
Minot Public Schools board will host community meetings starting in March --- looking for public input on school expansions and the possibility of a new elementary school in southeast Minot.
The board may also revisit the two-high school model for Minot that was first introduced after the flood.