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Students to return to burned high school this fall

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DICKINSON, N.D. (AP) — Students at a Dickinson Catholic high school, which was shut down after the principal allegedly set it on fire earlier this year, will return to the school for the next academic year.

Students at Trinity High School are expected to be back in their classrooms in late August. They've been attending classes at temporary locations across the city.

Monsignor Patrick Schumacher said Thursday that about 60 percent of the school will be usable when they return.

Schumacher said the administrative portion of the building will likely be razed. Police say that's where the fire was allegedly started on March 3 by Thomas Sander, the former principal of the high school.

Sander faces charges of arson and endangerment by fire or explosion. Both are felonies that carry a maximum punishment of 10 years in prison.

Schumacher said clean up crews have been working tirelessly since the fire to get the school ready for the fall. He estimated the clean up has cost approximately $2 million already, and said that price will likely continue to climb.

He and other school officials will meet with their insurance company next week to figure out the next steps for the school.

The chairman said the hope is to rebuild the 50-year-old building to house all Dickinson Catholic students. Currently grades K-6 are in two elementary schools in town.

Senior students will likely get to return to their school in May, if only briefly, for graduation, Schumacher said.

Students that return in the fall will take classes in the west wing of the high school, which Schumacher said was less damaged the night of the fire.

Sander posted a reduced bail in late March. He is due back in court April 21.

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