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School opens; Students start classes in new BCN school

Mark Lindahl, BCN superintendent

Students of Barnes County North Public Schools started class in their new school Monday, after more than a year of construction on the building.

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The new Barnes County North school in Leal, N.D., serves as a single, centralized school for the entire district of about 290 students, which previously had three schools in Spiritwood, Rogers and Wimbledon.

“It’s been wonderful that we’re all together in one place,” said Mark Lindahl, BCN superintendent.

When the new school wasn’t finished at the beginning of this school year, classes were held at the Wimbledon and Rogers schools.

There are still a few odds and ends to finish at the new school, Lindahl said. The two gyms aren’t finished, so students are using the school gym in Wimbledon.

Lindahl said he hopes to have everything at the new school finished by mid-January.

Although it was a long wait to get the new school open, Lindahl said, “It’s been well worth it.”

Lindahl described BCN’s new $14.5 million school as “state-of-the-art,” with iPads for upper-level students, an improved school security system and more.

“It’ll have bigger classrooms,” he added. The 85,000-square-foot building is much larger than any of BCN’s previous schools.

Once completed, the two gyms will be higher quality than what the other BCN schools had, Lindahl said.

But, “the biggest thing is finally being a school, instead of two separate schools,” Lindahl said. He’s excited about the district’s unity with the new school, he said, eliminating an “east versus west mindset.”

Some BCN students are now further away from school, with the new building being located in Leal, Lindahl said.

“The ones who live on the edge of the district might be on the bus upwards of 45 to 50 minutes,” he said. The district has 10 bus routes.

With the new school up and running, there are just a few things the district has left to take care of with its former three schools.

BCN already sold the Rogers school building in early 2013 to a nonprofit, Project Ignite Light.

The district had been renting part of the Rogers building this fall, and should be completely vacated from there by the end of this month, Lindahl said.

He said the Spiritwood school building hadn’t been under BCN’s ownership. The district had previously rented it, Lindahl said, and vacated it at the end of last school year.

BCN still owns the Wimbledon school, but does have a prospective buyer, Lindahl said. BCN expects to have that purchase finalized in the next couple of months, he said.

Sun reporter Charly Haley can be reached at 701-952-8455 or by email at

Charly Haley
Charly Haley covers city government for the Grand Forks Herald. As night reporter, she also has many general assignments. Before working at the Herald, she was a reporter at the Jamestown Sun and interned at The Forum of Fargo-Moorhead, Detroit Lakes Newspapers and the St. Cloud Times. Haley is a graduate of Minnesota State University Moorhead, and her hometown is Sartell, Minn.
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