DLPS school board meeting discusses long-term facility plans, next course of action

John B. Crane
Devils Lake Journal

DEVILS LAKE – Although there was only one discussion topic on the agenda, a special school board meeting held on July 19 at Devils Lake High School showed significance. 

DLPS held a school board meeting on July 19 to discuss long-term facility plans, with a potential call for a referendum at a future date.

The lone topic on the docket – facilities discussion – spanned nearly two hours as school board members discussed long-term plans for Devils Lake Public Schools (DLPS) facility usage. Specific discussions involved costs toward a new middle school, auditorium and mechanical system upgrades, including air conditioning. Additional facility discussions involved potential Prairie View Elementary School upgrades and how Central Middle School factored into any considerations. 

Continued discussion with the Community Facilities Task Force has spanned a year, dating back to August 2021. After a community survey in March 2022 revealed feedback, school board members discussed the findings during the meeting. 

While no decision was made during the meeting on what long-term facilities plan worked best, a possible call for a referendum could occur during their next session. 

“Tonight, we, as a school board, had some conversation and discussion as far as what potential next steps are, moving forward,” DLPS Superintendent Matt Bakke said after the meeting. “And now, it’s going to come down to July 25 and making that final decision as far as where we go with this almost just a year’s worth of work that we put into this long-range facility planning. We have had a lot of community members involved in this process. We have had the opportunity for a survey and feedback from the community, so I think all of the data and all of the research and all of the time and commitment is now coming to a decision point.” 

School board members weighed the pros and cons of potential cost estimates. Discussion on what the public considered a top priority also made up a lengthy talking point. 

“The importance is that everybody needs to know what we can and cannot include,” Bakke said. “Obviously, we are not going to be able to include everything we need within our district. So, the important thing here is that we are going to do everything we can to include as much as we can, but not spending too much of the taxpayer’s dollars [and] making sure we are being as fiscally responsible as we can. And so, that is going to be up to the school board to dictate that number and then do the best we can to get the most out of that as we can.” 

The next DLPS School Board meeting is scheduled for July 25 at 5:00 p.m. CDT at the Devils Lake Sports Center meeting room. 

John Crane is a sports/general assignment reporter for the Devils Lake Journal. Feel free to contact John via work phone (701-922-1372), cell phone (701-230-4339), email (jcrane@gannett.com) or Twitter (@johncranesports) with any story ideas.