DICKINSON, N.D. — Students of Trinity High School in Dickinson will be back in their building for next year.
This year’s graduation also will take place in the school’s auditorium, which should be fully cleaned by the end of this month.
The school was significantly damaged by a fire in early March. The former principal, Thomas Sander, has since been charged with arson and endangerment by fire, both felony charges.
The Trinity students, who are in grades 7-12, are spending the rest of their school year spread out among various public schools and one of the local Catholic churches.
A majority of the school will be usable for next year, said Dickinson Catholic Schools President Steve Glasser.
“We just feel we have to get back to the school,” Glasser said. “And this is part of a much larger vision.”
That larger vision is a plan for the next five years or so. The main part of the plan is for Dickinson Catholic Schools to eventually be located all on one campus — specifically, where Trinity is located.
The schools have about 550 students — 250 in grades 7-12 and 300 in elementary school.
The first step would be to work on preparing the school for the seventh- through 12th-graders. The west wing of the school, along with the gymnasium, auditorium and cafeteria, will be used for school next year, said Monsignor Patrick Schumacker, the president of the Dickinson Catholic School Board.
The central office area and the classrooms above it — the areas most damaged by the fire and smoke — will have to be completely rebuilt, Schumacher said.
In early May, the schools are conducting a space feasibility study, both for next fall and for future plans.
Depending on what that study finds, the schools are hoping to bring the elementary students — currently housed in two elementary school buildings in Dickinson — into the Trinity High School building or at least into a new building on that campus, Glasser said.