Kimberly Keysor, left, Kylee Kerzmann, middle, and Mariah Machart relax Tuesday in the sun in front of Bismarck State College's student union during the college's student and residence life cookout on the first full day of classes.

Public schools and higher education institutions in Bismarck and Mandan are gearing up for the start of a new academic year this week.

Students were buzzing around campuses Tuesday for the first full day of classes at United Tribes Technical College and Bismarck State College.

BSC reported first day student enrollment was down slightly by about 197 students, for a total of 3,482 students on the first day of classes, according to data provided by the school. However, Juanita Lee, communications manager for BSC, said students were still enrolling Tuesday, and the college anticipates enrolling about 3,780 students this year.

The University of Mary's fall term begins Sept. 6.

Bismarck Public Schools and Mandan Public Schools start Thursday. Both school districts are expecting slight enrollment growth this year, with a projected 12,964 students in Bismarck and 3,737 students in Mandan, according to district data. The districts' projected enrollments are up slightly by about 100 to 200 students.

Students attending middle school in Bismarck and at Century High School can expect to see ongoing construction at their schools after voters approved a $57.5 million bond in March. Projects began this summer, and the middle school additions are scheduled to be completed by the start of the 2018-19 school year. Construction of a new gymnasium at Bismarck High School is also slated to start in the spring.

Students should not be adversely affected by the construction zones outside their schools, said Darin Scherr, business manager for BPS.

"During the day, they shouldn't really notice anything, but, at the beginning of the day and the end of day, we want everybody to be careful, because it is right next to a construction zone," he said.

Light of Christ Catholic Schools of Bismarck also starts Thursday. Shiloh Christian School, which serves K-12 students in Bismarck, will begin the new academic year today (or say "Wednesday).

(Reach Blair Emerson at 701-250-8251 or Blair.Emerson@bismarcktribune.com)