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Published May 19, 2011, 06:05 PM

More Kids Coming To Grand Forks Air Force Base

The number of personnel stationed at the Grand Forks Air Force Base will grow in the near future, which will also bring more children to the base.

The number of personnel stationed at the Grand Forks Air Force Base will grow in the near future, which will also bring more children to the base.

The two schools on base were facing consolidation when the KC-135 tanker mission left. But now, with the new Unmanned Aircraft Systems mission, airmen are coming back.

Kids playing at recess at Grand Forks Air Force Base's Carl Ben Eielson School will soon have more playmates.

"Lt. Col. Paterson who sits on the base board as a liaison with the base command, indicated that they believe that there are between 100 and 150 more students that will be coming between now and the end of September, early October," said Twining school principal Barry Lentz.

Last fall, Twining and Carl Ben Eielson Elementary school were in danger of being consolidated, but with the new airmen and families coming, the district is preparing for the incoming students.

"We extended a secretary's time, taking registration for new families that come in, give them a tour of the school and get them acclimated as quickly as possible. Obviously, we are going to monitor the amount of students coming in so we can staff accordingly," said Grand Forks school district assistant superintendent Jody Thompson.

With a current enrollment of around 300 students, officials still expect to see some fluctuation in numbers.

"We also have the squadrons here that are not leaving, that are going through the normal rotation, so we have a number of kids who have started leaving in the next thee weeks to a month," said Lentz.

After a long process of trying to save both schools, the school district knew the declines would end.

"We know at some point the decline was going to stop and we are at that point now, so we are going to continue to see incremental increases over the next several months," said Thompson.

The school district says in August, they'll hold a base education fair to allow for new students to get to know their new school.

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