Will Canyon Lake Elementary be permanently closed?


20230223 155353RAPID CITY, S.D. – The permanent closure of Canyon Lake Elementary school is up for a vote by Rapid City Area Schools’ Board of Education. The final vote on the closure of the school will be on March 7, 2023. The topic item will need to have a majority vote to pass.

In 2016, Rapid City Area Schools hired MGT Education to conduct a study on all Rapid City Area Public Schools to rate them for building conditions and educational sustainability. Scoring the lowest was South Middle School with Canyon Lake Elementary following in a close second.

Students currently attending Canyon Lake Elementary are losing an estimated 30-40 minutes of educational time weekly due to travel between annex
buildings and the school’s two main buildings. Currently, there are four annex buildings being used on their campus, which are meant for temporary infrastructure for classrooms. Canyon Lake West, built in 1949 with steam heating, has been partially closed with 7 classrooms and other spaces unable to be utilized due to a lack of temperature control and other building issues. To properly install the heating system required, RCAS was quoted over one million dollars.

Canyon Lake West only hosts 4 usable classrooms and the gym/lunchroom area with some heating updates that were able to be done within the district’s budget. Another topic of concern with Canyon Lake is safety due to students having to travel distances in-between classes and lunch so frequently. The district believes it is unfair to continue to educate children in conditions so unequal to other elementary schools within RCAS.

The bond that failed in 2020 addressed the need to close Canyon Lake. RCAS has put off the inevitable and is now facing closure. New boundaries for elementary school enrollment will be provided and current students will be split between Meadowbrook Elementary, Knollwood Elementary, South Canyon Elementary, Pinedale Elementary, and
General Beadle Elementary. In conjunction, all current Canyon Lake employees will be reassigned to other open positions within the district.

“We cannot continue to put off facing the issues that been around for over a decade within the district. RCAS has reached the point that facilities are failing, and closures have to happen. This is not how RCAS wanted to solve our building issues, but with the failing bond, we now find the district in a lose-lose situation. It is more important than ever to prioritize and support our public schools and the hard decisions they face,” said Interim Superintendent, Nicole Swigart.

The public is invited and encouraged to attend the Rapid City Area School’s Board of Education Meetings. The School Board Meetings can be watched live via the YouTube link on RCAS’s website. If you have any questions, please call 605-394-4091.


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