Rapid City schools examine current facilities, plan for new buildings

RAPID CITY, S.D. — Rapid City Area Schools are in need of funding to build new facilities for students as the current buildings fall into disrepair. With the projected population increase from the B-21 Raider coming to Ellsworth Air Force Base, RCAS leadership says the new facilities are necessary.

After making the announcement that $250 million is needed to build new schools and make critical repairs to current buildings, RCAS is looking for the public’s support in fulfilling the needs of area students.

Schools and classrooms are currently overcrowded, and the outdated facilities are falling apart. Staff say that now is the time to look to creating new facilities instead of trying more repairs and renovations.

“Sooner or later,” says Dr. Lori Simon, RCAS Superintendent, “that cost of trying to continually repair and put money into aging infrastructure is no longer effective.”

The grounds beneath Robbinsdale Elementary are sinking, causing walls and floors to crack. Some doors in the school are unable to close properly, which caused the school to fail a shooter drill.

At South Middle School, sewage pipes have begun leaking, which could lead to potential health risks for students and staff.

And with the state buildings are in, students are not able to receive their education. Special education classrooms in particular are small and overcrowded, causing a sensory overload for the students.

Kumar Veluswamy, RCAS Facilities Manager, said, “The deterioration and the capacity issues and not being able to provide a good, proper learning environment for the kids is our number one priority.”

When the main building was not enough, Canyon Lake Elementary began using smaller outbuildings. When classes change and students move from the buildings, staff believe it is a potential security risk.

And with the cramped spaces, teachers have to use the hallways for storage.

While a quarter-billion dollars may seem like a tall order, RCAS stresses that it is essential for the future of not just the district, but of the city as a whole.

Categories: Local News, South Dakota News