The Delmont Public School is a historic former school building at 205 West Third Street in Delmont, South Dakota. It is a three-story brick building, designed by the Nebraska firm of Grabe and Hellberg and built in 1923. Its styling is a vernacular rendition of Collegiate Gothic, with a central entrance framed by buttresses rising to an arch at the second level. The auditorium, added in 1938, extends from the rear of the main block.
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In an article from the Mitchell Daily Republic by Ross Dolan
Delmont residents dispute report, building's closure
By Ross Dolan on May 20, 2006 at 12:00 a.m.
DELMONT - The school year may be drawing to a close, but the loss of their elementary school still rankles Delmont residents, some of whom are saying they will consider open-enrollment options rather than return to the Tripp-Delmont School District in the fall.
Conflicting structural reports on the condition of the 83-year-old brick building has created even more local friction for the town, which sends its students to nearby Tripp.
"It's been somewhat of a divisive issue for the district, and that's unfortunate," said Tripp-Delmont Superintendent of Schools Lynn Vlasman.
The Tripp-Delmont Board of Education voted last summer to close Delmont's K-4 elementary school following a May 2005 inspection by a Sioux Falls structural engineering firm that determined that mortar in the building was deteriorating. The building was judged unsafe and, over the objections of many in Delmont, the school board - made up of both Tripp and Delmont residents - voted to close the building.
Delmont's elementary-age children traveled by bus the 13 miles to Tripp for the 2005-2006 school year. They were schooled in a renovated day care facility, and temporary classroom facilities were used to handle the influx of students.
The Delmont school won't be re-opened for the 2006-2007 school year after the school board voted 3-2 in April not to reopen the school and confirmed that decision in a meeting earlier this week. Of the five members of the board, three are from Tripp and two from Delmont.
The board members from Tripp all voted for the closure.
Delmont Fire Chief Bob Kurtz - who is also a building contractor - said Delmont parents voted for a 2004 opt-out because they were told the school would be good for another seven years.
"We never would have voted for the opt-out if we thought the building would be closed," he said.
Kurtz was, and is, convinced the building is structurally sound. Earlier this year he and other residents pushed the school district for a second opinion on the building. A second study of the building by the Minneapolis structural engineering firm of Mattson Macdonald Young Inc. said, "in our opinion the building may be open to the public for its intended use." The report set timelines for the repair of masonry but said the building could be used if a roof drain was cleared, interior plaster was repaired and a questionable south gymnasium wall was monitored.
Instead of clarifying issues, the second study further muddied the waters.