Former STAR Academy property sells at auction for $1.3 million

After four years and four separate auctions, the property formerly known as STAR Academy has been sold.

RAPID CITY, S.D. — The former STAR Academy property in Custer was sold for $1,325,000 at auction on Friday morning.

Three people submitted bids at the Custer County Courthouse for the 133 acre property. The name of the buyer has not been released. Faith Lewis of Lewis Realty/Keller William Black Hills Real Estate, who represented the local purchasing party, submitted the bid.

The state will use the money, which totals nearly $2 million including 351,000 in repossessed fines from the first auction four years ago and $320,000 for 40 acres that was sold in 2020, will be put in a trust fund that will go to the South Dakota Department of Corrections.

If the property was not sold, a bill, Senate Bill 18, which authorizes the SD Department of Corrections to demolish the buildings on the property, was going to be discussed. Now that the property is sold, taxpayers won’t have to pay for it and the bill will be tabled.

Star Academy Auction 7

“The money per the legislation to sell it will go into a trust fund for the benefit of the Department of Corrections, so that money will not be spent, it will go into a trust fund for perpetuity and then the interest and dividends go back to the department of corrections,” said Ryan Brunner, the Commissioner of School and Public Lands. “That was decided prior to the legislature approving the sale of the property.”

The auction opened bidding at $1 million, a decrease of $680,000 from the last auction. 10 percent of the $1,325,000 was due after the auction from the buyer.

More information on the buyer and what they intend to do with the property are expected to become known after Governor Noem signs off on the sale.

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