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Published September 25, 2013, 06:40 PM

Wahpeton to vote on new elementary school

Wahpeton, ND (WDAY TV) - Soon, Wahpeton could be building a new elementary school. But first, officials have to decide what to do with the old one.

Wahpeton, ND (WDAY TV) - Soon, Wahpeton could be building a new elementary school. But first, officials have to decide what to do with the old one.

Options include selling Central Elementary, or simply tearing it down.

The foundation is crumbling, classrooms are cramped and the building is just plain old. That's what the superintendent said today, and hopes by next week plans can move forward to shut down central and look to the future.

Steve Hockert, Central Principal: "Central Elementary is an aging building. Our kids really want the need for technology. Educational factors here that take place with small classroom sizes."

From the outside, things don't look so bad - yeah, it's an old building. But take a look inside and you begin to understand.

Grades one, two, three, four and five fit in here – barely.

Rick Jacobson, Wahpeton Schools Superintendent: "There's no extra room in that building. Every space, every closet is used."

Take a trip to the basement. Since flood waters destroyed this space it hasn't been usable. That was back in 1997.

A glimpse of the foundation would frighten anyone. Most of the building looks like this. And back to the space - or lack thereof. In some classrooms there’s as many as 20 fifth graders packed into one classroom.

Jacobson: "We’re crowded and there's no other rooms available."

Soon, this could all change. The town will vote on a 30 million dollar project, one that the superintendent hopes wins by a landslide.

Jacobson: "It shows that the community is supporting the project. And they're behind it."

Central would be shutdown, torn down or sold. But a new one would pop up in its place, possibly attached to the existing middle school.

Hockert: "A facility that we're allowed to have flexible spaces."

A school that would allow - for classes to grow, learn and succeed.

The 30 million dollar project wouldn't be just for the new school. Pricing includes remodeling of the middle school to make adjustments for the elementary. It also would allow mechanical and electrical upgrades to the high school.

The vote is set for next Tuesday.

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