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Two federal grants totaling more than $10 million will fund construction of elementary schools at Standing Rock and Spirit Lake, according to an announcement made today by Sen. Heidi Heitkamp, D-N.D., and Sen. John Hoeven, R-N.D.

The money has been awarded to Solen School District and the Oberon School District to construct new elementary schools due to the unacceptable conditions of the current buildings.

“This is a great step forward for both Cannon Ball and Oberon — two communities serving Indian Country that are in desperate need for new elementary schools,” Heitkamp said. “When a child shows up for class each day and has to deal with mold growth, rodent infestations and a building that is literally falling apart, it sends a message to the students that they are not worth an investment in their future. These federal funds are in critical need to build new schools that will finally meet the needs of our children, strengthen their communities and give them the opportunities for success that they deserve.”

The federal grants will be distributed as follows:

• Solen School District #3, Standing Rock: $5,322,701 in federal funding that will be dispersed over three years to replace the Cannon Ball Elementary School, which was originally built in the 1930s.

• Oberon School District #16, Spirit Lake: $4,691,494 in federal funding that will be dispersed over the next three years to construct a new Oberon Elementary School, which was built more than 100 years ago.

“It’s important to have a healthy and safe environment in order for students to learn and reach their full potential,” Hoeven said. “Today’s funds represent critical investments in the Standing Rock and Spirit Lake communities and will provide state-of-the art opportunities for students to learn skills that will prepare them for high school, college and beyond.”