What could a new bond measure look like for Rapid City Area Schools?

RAPID CITY, S.D– Two years ago, the vote for a $189,000,000 bond measure that would have given the district funds for maintenance, improved security, and building new schools– failed to pass a key threshold. According to the State of South Dakota school bonds need to pass with a 60 percent of votes plus one vote. The 56 percent it did receive was not enough for it to be passed.

Rcas Covid Protocols 7Currently, both the district and board of education are working to create a new bond measure.

“This new bond measure, whenever that comes out,” Director of Facilities Services for RCAS Kumar Veluswamy said. “Certainly some of these older buildings that are, I am going to call it ‘educationally unsuitable buildings.’ are going to be– going to have to be addressed.”

According to Veluswamy, “educationally unsuitable” refers to reports done in years past where schools were scored based on categories like structure and functionality. In the last 15 years, RCAS has built both an elementary and middle school, along with recent additions to a high school in the last 10. However, many of their other schools were built a minimum of four decades prior.

South Middle School scored the lowest and now a new building is under construction. But many older schools still remain lacking. And with money set aside for debt payment, supplies and security, the district is also dealing with new costs associated with recent factors like city growth.

“You know, a hundred dollars could let’s say get you from point a to point b,” Veluswamy said. “Well now, that hundred dollars may not get you half of that. The construction costs have gone up significantly , which then creates a lot of issues in addressing the difference maintenance.”

For Veluswamy, operational efficiency is something he would like to see be taken more into account for future structures. Utilizing materials that will not need as much maintenance and taking advantage of incentives from power companies being two examples. He also expressed the idea of, for any new schools coming in the future, building them to accommodate several hundreds of students instead of smaller facilities.

But most importantly, that children have the tools they need to succeed.

“I am just hoping that this happens and we pass the bond and build the brand-new building that kids need. And the facilities they deserve to be the leaders of the future.”

Categories: Local News, South Dakota News