March 6, 2013

Students get ready to move into new school

By Kate Ruggles
Farmer Staff Writer

Though the Watford City Elementary School addition is still in mid-construction, its exposed metal framework and unpainted drywall are about to see some new faces.
Starting March 11, the wing containing one of the school’s second grade classrooms, special education classrooms, the library and Title One classrooms will move into the finished portions of the new addition. And the school office will relocate to an exterior trailer next to an existing trailer currently serving as the music room.
According to Watford City Elementary School Principal Brad Foss, this move will officially clear the path for the next phase of renovations, which are slated for the existing, and currently occupied, elementary school building.
“The addition is coming along well, but if we are going to keep moving on schedule we have to move on to the next phase of remodels,” states Foss.
While it is necessary in order to have the facility and its addition up and running for the 2013-2014 school year, completing the next phase will be challenging while school is still in session and filled with students.
“We want to make this transition with the least amount of disruptions and distractions to our school day,” states Foss.
Foss said that new traffic patterns will have to be set up to accommodate for the loss of the school’s connecting hallway and front office, in addition to temporary set-ups for the remainder of the school year and other impending moves on the horizon. One of the big changes forthcoming will be the closure of the school’s cafeteria and lunchroom.
“The next thing that will be worked on is the school’s cafeteria,” states Foss. “In the middle of April, we will close it off for the rest of the year so the construction crews can start expanding the kitchen and lunchroom. During that time, the elementary students will have to be bussed to the high school for lunch.”
Foss states that the administration considered many ideas, but of them, that was the one that made the most sense and was the most feasible.
Also happening shortly will be the installation of the facility’s new carpet in the new Kindergarten area.
“The carpet actually should have already arrived, but a winter storm in Kansas slowed the delivery,” states Foss. “It should be here around March 6, and once it gets here we will have new flooring for the school.”
According to Foss, the newly-remodeled Watford City Elementary School, once completed, will have the capacity to house up to 600 students.
The kitchen area will be expanded into the school’s lunch area, giving the kitchen staff more room to prepare meals for that many students. And the current lunchroom will move into where the gym currently resides.
The school’s current gymnasium and library are being moved into the new addition, as are its kindergarten and music classrooms.
“Getting there will be difficult, but once it is done, the new building will be great,” states Foss. “We just have to make the best of the transition.”
As of March 4, the school office move will have already taken place. The second grade, special education, Title One and school library will begin later this week and over the weekend. As for the cafeteria, that is not slated to begin until around April 19.