Frenchtown Junior High and High Schools will open on January 4 following the flooding that occurred on Sunday, December 13 when a water main burst and sent thousands of gallons of water rushing down stairways and hallways.

School Superintendent Randy Kline said work has continued on drying out the building and making repairs throughout the Christmas holiday break.

"Progress has been good," Kline said. "It's kind of like a giant jig-saw puzzle trying to put all the pieces together. to make it happen, but I think we're there. The thing we have right now, is that we don't have any drinking water. We have water for bathrooms, but we're working on the chlorination level for the water to make sure it's drinkable.We have a water expert that's working with us, and once that gets done we'll be up and going. We will have bottled water for the students on Monday."

The gym floor in the high school was irreparably damaged by the flooding water.

"That's still in the planning stages," said Kline. "The floor in the high school has been removed and the bleachers have been removed. The process will begin when we replace the floor first, then we'll replace the lower bleachers this summer. Even if we are able to use the floor in February, which is our hope, then the balcony will be all we have, we won't have any lower seating."

Kline did not provide an estimate of what the new gym floor would cost, but a similar floor in Wolf Point is being replaced at a cost of just over $350,000.

Kline explained why the lower bleachers needed to be replaced, as well.

"Once the lower bleachers had been removed, we couldn't reattach them, because they were no longer up to code. We had planned to replace the bleachers this summer anyway, so that just became a process of the repairs."

Kline said some classrooms might have to be moved around the ongoing repairs, but actual construction will only take place after school hours.