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Excavator to acquire school site

November 28, 2012
Jenn Brookens - Staff Writer , Fairmont Sentinel

ARMSTRONG - Despite a citizens group's request for more time, the Armstrong-Ringsted School Board has approved transferring the Ringsted school building to Michaelson Excavation of Armstrong.

According to Armstrong-Ringsted Superintendent Matt Berninghaus, the deal will be complete within 90 days.

"We had four people speak about timelines, and they wanted more time," he said of the Save the Ringsted Building committee.

The district began discussions about shutting down the Ringsted building at the same time whole-grade sharing agreement talks began in 2010. But it wasn't until this past spring that the citizens group began its efforts to save the building.

The district's decision to transfer the building instead of keeping it for another year is because of costs of about $3,000 per month to keep the boilers and utilities running in the empty building. Continuing to heat and power in an empty building cancels out any savings from no longer using the site for classes.

There also are concerns with the building deteriorating as it sits empty. These issues could make cleanup and demolition even more expensive.

"I really wish you had come forward 15 months ago," board president Jim Boyer told the citizens group when it first approached the board in June.

While Michaelson Excavation is not under order to demolish the school, part of the talks in regard to the property transfer include that any demolition costs will be at the company's expense.

In other school board business, the district is moving forward with consolidation with Sentral Schools.

Both districts are circulating petitions to gain at least 200 signatures in support of consolidation. Those need to be turned into the state the week of Jan. 21.

If enough signatures are gained, a public vote on consolidation could be held in June or September 2013. If the measure passes, the two districts would consolidate into one beginning with the 2014-15 school year.



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