Most kids in North Dakota went back to school last week, but students in the Richardton- Taylor School District got an extra week to enjoy their summer.
The delay was caused by constructions crews putting the finishing touches on the district’s brand new high school.
Teachers, staff, and administrators also needed some extra time to move things from old school to new school that had been stored in the school gymnasium during construction.
“I have been teaching here for 20 years, and you just assume you are going to be teaching in the same place and the same materials without change. It is good to see change, ” said Gae Zentner, Richardton-Taylor high school teacher.
The new school is nearly twice size of the old one at about 43,000 square feet. and it will have 21st Century heating and air, along with a school security system.
“Once area C is completed we will have 32 cameras on the interior and exterior, along with automatic door locks,” said Brent Bautz, Richardton-Taylor superintendent.
Aside from the upgrades, Bautz said the old school built in 1961 was starting to deteriorate and become a safety concern.
“We had an underground hvac system. The tunnels were filling with water. It was affecting our air quality”.
This week students had an opportunity to walk, sit, and learn in their new school, and some students said they are not shedding a tear over the old building.
“The old school was very small. . .very closed in. . . and eventually it was going to fall apart,” said Logan Hoff, senior at Richardton-Taylor High School.
The school superintendent said there is still some work yet to be finished such as construction of an arts and computer building and the paving of a new school parking lot.
“It is set to be finished around Christmas maybe a little into the Spring,” said Zentner.
Bautz said the new high school will also help alleviate congestion at the elementary school.
The high school will be home for grades 4th through 12th, compared to 7th through 12th last year.
“With increase enrollment we ran out of space at the elementary,” said Bautz.
Because of the schools late start an extra week will be added on at the end of the school year, but some instructors said they weren’t able to enjoy that extra week of Summer
“I was in my class room unpacking trying to get everything organized,” said Zentner.
More than 200 kids are currently enrolled at the new high school, and the project cost $12 million and was partially funded by a $2 million bond referendum passed by voters in 2016.
High School Football
The new high school might already be having a positive affect of the football team.
The Richardton-Taylor- Hebron Raiders have already won as many games this year as they did last year at 1-1.
The Raiders were 1-7 last year in Region 5 nine-man football.
However, the coaching staff feels optimistic about the team this year with lots of experience on the roster and talent at the skills positions.
They have their first home game this Friday night against Central McLean in front of the new high school.
“It is a really big game for us. Central McLean is looking at getting one of those playoff spots. If we can come out on top that will give us a pretty big advantage,” said Devin Rummel, offensive coordinator for the Raiders.
Richardton- Taylor- Hebron will be taking on the undefeated Central McLean Cougars at 6pm at Richardton.