Stanley schools deal with infl ux of students
By TERI FINNEMAN For The Associated Press
STANLEY — The map hanging in the
school offi ce here says it all. For local students, the refl ection of
the United States isn’t just a map. It’s a snapshot of themselves. In this northwestern North Dakota
community, home to just 1,300 people 10 years ago, a steady stream of new stu- dents are arriving from across the coun- try as their families seek jobs in the oil patch.
A school district once dominated by
North Dakota natives now has students from about 35 states and a handful of foreign countries, Superintendent Kent Hjelmstad said. To celebrate the school’s diversity, a map in the high school offi ce is proudly plastered with pins to highlight where students were born. Hjelmstad welcomes the infl ux of
students. “They bring new ideas, experiences and different backgrounds,” he said. “I fi nd it exciting.” Once seen as a declining town, Stan-
ley has grown from 395 students in 2008 to 556 in 2011. If the pattern continues, Hjelmstad said, the K-12 system could reach 876 students by 2013. Among rapidly growing schools, state
rankings had Stanley with the fourth- biggest percentage increase in enroll- ment, 16.5 percent, from fall 2010 to fall 2011. The state defi nes rapidly growing as an annual increase of at least 7 per- cent, as long as the district added at least 25 students.
Only the districts in Divide County,
McKenzie County and Minot’s South Prairie saw bigger percentage gains among the 10 rapidly growing districts, according to the North Dakota Depart- ment of Public Instruction. All are in oil
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country. To accommodate Stanley’s growth,
the district will break ground in several weeks to expand the school that houses grades 7-12. The estimated $7 million project will include several more class- rooms there, as well as additions and im- provements at the elementary. Residents support the expansion, but
there are concerns about whether the enrollment increase will last, Hjelmstad said. That’s why district leaders decided to hold off on a second expansion of the high school that would include a well- ness center, cafeteria, offi ces and com- mons area. “It is a conservative community,” he
said. “They like the fact that we’re only doing half of it (construction) and that we’re taking it slow and that we’re being pretty conscientious about not overdo- ing it.” School Board Vice President Kelly
Hanson said they “desperately need” more classrooms to serve the growing student population. He also hears the need to be cautious. “It’s good to see more students in
the school, but, you know, is this going to sustain?” said Hanson, a 1985 Stanley graduate. “What happens if this ends to- morrow? What are we going to do? We all know what a boom-and-bust situa- tion is like.”
Hjelmstad said it’s diffi cult to predict
Stanley’s future. Some estimates say the city’s population has doubled to nearly 2,400 residents and could reach 10,000 in eight to 10 years, he said. “If later on, we say we have to do the
other half of the (construction) project, then we’ll do that,” Hjelmstad said. “At that point, it won’t be a choice. We will have to.”
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Thursday, February 2, 2012 ■ Page 9
Natural gas transport capacity raises concern
By DALE WETZEL Associated Press
North Dakota’s natural gas produc-
tion, which has been rising in step with its booming oil output, may require more pipeline capacity to carry the fuel to markets, a state offi cial says. “Is the existing infrastructure in the
ground going to be adequate? If it’s not, let’s start taking the steps now to make sure that different pipeline options are being planned and developed for pro- duction,” said Justin Kringstad, director of the state Pipeline Authority. The agency is contracting for a study
of oil and natural gas production trends as wells drilled in western North Dako- ta’s Bakken and Three Forks oil shale rock formations get older and less pro- ductive.
A standard assumption has been that oil and natural gas production fall at the same rate as a well ages, Kringstad said. However, early data indicates that natu- ral gas output falls less rapidly, which would boost the fuel’s expected produc- tion numbers in the future, he said. The study will analyze oil and gas
production ratios for a typical well throughout its expected life and provide forecasts of likely natural gas output as a result. It is scheduled for completion before July 1.
North Dakota has fi ve major natural
gas transmission pipelines. Kringstad said the study may justify building new pipelines or increased carrying capacity on existing lines. Another option is to encourage more natural gas use for pow- er generation or manufacturing, he said. North Dakota Department of Min-
eral Resources statistics show natural gas production hovering around 150 mil- lion cubic feet per day in the early 2000s. Last November, the latest month for which statistics are available, production reached 521 million cubic feet per day. One million cubic feet per day is enough to heat about 1,000 homes. Tim Rasmussen, a spokesman for
Williston Basin Interstate Pipeline Co., said the study’s information about natu- ral gas production trends would be help- ful. Williston Basin doubled its natural gas transportation capacity for western North Dakota gas in 2011, and is work- ing on doubling it again this year, he said. “We have been going gangbusters in
expanding our pipeline capacity in the Bakken,” Rasmussen said Jan. 25. Williston Basin operates a major nat-
ural gas pipeline network in North Da- kota, South Dakota, Montana and Wyo- ming. The company is a unit of MDU Resources Group Inc., which is based in Bismarck.
Dakotas getting small chunk of USDA disaster funds The Dakotas are getting a chunk of about $308 million in disaster assistance
being provided to 33 states and Puerto Rico from U.S. Department of Agricul- ture emergency funds. North Dakota’s share is $100,000, and South Dakota’s is $396,000. The money is aimed at helping the states recover from an unusually intense
— Associated Press
year of natural disasters. Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack said 2011 was un- usual because almost every part of the country was hit by some type of disaster. In the Dakotas, fl ooding was the main problem.
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