KX Conversation: Superintendent Dr. Mike Bitz discusses the upcoming Mandan referendum

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In our March 30 edition of KX Conversation, new horizons are on the way for students in Mandan.
We were joined by the Superintendent of Mandan Public Schools, Dr. Mike Bitz.

We’re two weeks away from a referendum vote in Mandan to fund the building of a new high school and a new elementary school in town.

Dr. Bitz says they really can’t wait much longer.

“With our high school, we have a boiler…it’s a steam boiler that’s 65 years old and it needs to be updated. In order to update the boiler, we have to redo the electrical system in that building. And once we do that, we cross a threshold in dollars spent that we need to bring the whole building up to code. That means an extra 21 bathroom fixtures, it means a sprinkler throughout, the stairwells, the elevator doesn’t meet code, even little things like the door handles in the building don’t meet ADA code,” he said.

Dr. Bitz estimated the cost of bringing the building to code and updating the boiler to $20 million, and he said it’s “hard” to put that much money into an old building.

“In addition, our elementary enrollment is growing. We’re going to have another 416 kids in the next four years, according to our demographer. That’s roughly the size of Lewis and Clark School. If we want Mandan to continue to grow and develop, we have to have a place for kids to go to school. We already have kids in portables and we need to find classroom space for them,” Dr. Bitz said.

We also discussed the last few federal COVID-19 relief packages that will help lower the price tag of these projects, and more.

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