N.D. Officials Say Insurance Settlement Too Low for Northwood School

November 16, 2007

North Dakota officials believe an insurance settlement for their tornado-damaged school is too low, but they still plan to build a new school.

State fire and tornado insurance representatives have offered the Northwood School District $6.4 million to repair the existing school, Superintendent Kevin Coles said. The school was insured for $8.3 million, and the insurance claim offer comes in at $2.5 million less than the $8.9 million proof-of-loss the school submitted, he said.

“We certainly think we deserve a better settlement than that, and we’ll try and validate that,” Coles said.

Northwood’s school was destroyed by the Aug. 26 tornado. Insurance representatives are talking about repairs, Coles said, but school officials believe the building is a total loss. The insurance issue could go to arbitration if an agreement cannot be reached, he said.

The Northwood School District hopes to have a new school open in the fall of 2009, Coles said. The Federal Emergency Management Agency is requiring an environmental study before construction starts.

About 280 students attend the Northwood school.

Coles said Tuesday that a new school likely will not be built as a joint effort with neighboring Hatton, where Northwood students currently attend class. A plan to combine the school districts was defeated by Hatton voters in July. Hatton has about 220 students.

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