Community members voice feedback during Aug. 16 Public Meeting at Central Middle School

John B. Crane
Devils Lake Journal

DEVILS LAKE – Instead of a run-of-the-mill presentation, Tuesday evening's public meeting at Central Middle School (CMS) took on a different flavor. 

Instead, the Aug. 16 public meeting allowed community members to take tours of the facility and provide feedback on what should be done with the building. 

A public meeting at Central Middle School (CMS) allowed community members to tour the facility and provide feedback on Aug. 16.

The initial resolution to call for a special election was called on July 25, which would call for a new middle school and additional add-ons to Prairie View Elementary with a decided amount of $31.8 million. The initial resolution to call for a special election will occur on Oct. 11 at the Memorial Building in downtown Devils Lake. Voting will take place from 8:00 a.m. to 7:00 p.m. CDT. 

"As far as for a community member to go through and have the opportunity to see all of those things and see what our students are being educated in on a day-to-day basis, I think that is the biggest thing for us as a district," Devils Lake Public Schools (DLPS) Superintendent Matt Bakke said. "We want to make sure we are providing the best education [and] the best facilities for our students moving forward, and now we want the community's input. Is this the best opportunity we have for our students, or do we need to look elsewhere, and again, that's the option or opportunity that the community has on Oct. 11 to voice their opinions on that." 

After opening in 1937 as Central High School, CMS has been in continuous use for more than 80 years within the school district. In addition to the need to replace the original boiler system, CMS obstacles include roof damage, water leaks and lack of code compliance within the cafeteria, gymnasium and some classrooms and bathrooms. 

Adaptive reuse possibilities for CMS include apartment complexes and commercial spaces. 

"I think it was a great turnout tonight," Bakke said. "It was a great opportunity to gather feedback and insight from the community as far as potential uses of this building moving forward if a referendum were to pass. And so, this was a good opportunity to gather feedback, get questions answered [and] have conversations [and] good dialogue between community members and us, and that's what it's about.

Public meetings will additionally occur on Sep. 22 and Oct. 5 at CMS at 6:00 p.m. CDT. 

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.