Tonight, in a controversial decision, the Bismarck School Board voted unanimously to close Saxvik Elementary at the completion of this school year.
Despite spiking student growth across the district, Saxvik is projected to witness ongoing declining enrollment. Further justification for closing the school came from the $2.4 million estimated price tag to renovate the aging building. By comparison, this is considerably less than the estimated $15 million cost to build a brand new school.
Feedback from an outside consultant, hired for $20,000, played a role in the decision. Other schools in the district were also studied; however, it was determined that Saxvik most severely met the criteria for consideration. In addition to projected student population and renovation costs, other criteria examined included ADA compliance, available parking, and adequate playground/green space.
The study concluded that Saxvik is not the only elementary school projected to witness a declining population. Nearby Pioneer, too, was projected to decline in the study. Alternatively, Pioneer has been selected to receive transferring Saxvik students and staff, along with Murphy, Myhre, and Will-Moore.
The ultimate fate of the building itself has not been decided. Some suggestions include a daycare facility, community center, or office space.
Opened in 1952 at a cost of $133,862, it is one of the oldest school buildings in the district. Bismarck High School, whose current building opened in 1935, is the oldest. Will-More is the district’s oldest elementary building, having been built in 1950-1951.
The school was named after H.O. Saxvik, who served as the district superintendent for 20 years and passed away the year the school opened.