Noem approves $2.5 million grant for blind and visually impaired school
PIERRE, S.D. — On Wednesday, Gov. Kristi Noem approved a $2.5 million state grant to fund the construction of SDSBVI, or the South Dakota School for the Blind and Visually Impaired.
SDSVBI has been educating students since 1900, but its current facility in Aberdeen no longer meets standards, and will soon require significant funding to improve its physical condition if it’s not replaced.
The new facility is being developed as part of the Educational Impact Campaign, a joint project between Northern State University and SDSVBI.
The new building’s design was developed by a Sioux Falls design firm in conjunction with two architects, including Christopher Downey, who lost his sight in 2008, and Julie Walliesa, who has extensive experience designing schools for the visually impaired.
Former Gov. Dennis Daugaard awarded the same amount to the Educational Impact Campaign in 2018.
According to SDSBVI Superintendent Marje Kaiser, “It’s wonderful to receive this level of support from not one, but two governors, along with the city, and I can’t thank them enough. I’m thrilled that they recognize how beneficial this project will be not only to our students but also to the region, as a new facility will ensure we’ll be able to remain in Aberdeen.”