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Wadena-Deer Creek District weighing options for fall

Absolute facts were scarce at District 2155's June school board meeting but chairperson Ann Pate reaffirmed that doors would be open for Wadena-Deer Creek students on Sept. 7 when classes are set to begin for the 2010-11 school year.

The tornado that ripped through western Wadena Thursday, June 17 hit the high school head on, destroying huge sections of the roof, blowing out windows and making the structure dangerous to enter. Some sections of the school are so unsafe that structural engineers, who must assess the damage, will not enter them at this time. A fence to keep people out of the area will be going up around the high school this week, according to WDC business manager Jerry Anderson.

WDC superintendent Virginia Dahlstrom has been promised a report on or before July 7 by the school's insurance provider on a very large question -- can damage to the school be repaired or will a new school have to be built?

According to WDC business manager Jerry Anderson, the high school is insured for replacement value of the building and its contents.

Representatives of Riverport Insurance Services attended Monday's meeting and assured the school board that their company had the financial resources to meet its obligations. John Paulson is the local agent for Riverport.

M State -- Wadena, which is directly across the street from the high school, has take offered to find class rooms and space for WDC's top four grades, but that institution also suffered some tornado damage. Dahlstrom expects to know about M State-Wadena's availability within the next two weeks.

Dahlstrom has been in touch with the Rev. Don Wagner at St. Ann's and the newer portion of the Catholic School, which closed earlier this month, is a possible alternative site for WDC public school students. St. Ann's has six classrooms. Dahlstrom said she believes portable class rooms will also be a necessity.

Wadena-Deer Creek Elementary suffered only minor damage and can be used. It presently houses high school and district administrative personnel.

The school board granted Dahlstrom emergency resolution powers but also decided to meet each Monday for the next four weeks to keep in close touch with the situation.