Simplified: A new elementary school is coming to Harrisburg after voters Tuesday night overwhelmingly approved a $30 million bond to fund the cost of construction. The bond passed by a 74 percent margin.

Why it matters

  • This is the second time in two years voters have given significant approval to an eight-figure bond in Harrisburg. Last year, they approved (with an 83% margin) a $60 million bond to fund a new middle school and a new freshman academy.
  • The new school will be located south of South Middle School on the west side of Cliff Avenue on land that's already been purchased by the district.
  • The new building will also free up space for the existing Liberty Elementary school building to be largely repurposed and used, in part, by the City of Harrisburg as a sort of community center.
"We have such great community support – we really do," school board Chair Mike Knudson said Tuesday night. "I feel spoiled in that sense, it seems like in the Harrisburg district, people understand the importance of public education."

So, what will this $30 million bond fund?

The biggest piece of the pie is the new elementary school, which is expected to cost $24 to $26 million, Graf told Sioux Falls Simplified.

If that all goes to plan, the goal is to have money left over to add some improvements to South Middle School, including a new track and updates to the cafeteria and kitchen.

There are also hopes that the bond could fund a garage for school buses, Graf said.

And what about the other new buildings?

Yeah, so there are already two new school buildings under construction in the Harrisburg School District.

  • The new middle school is being built near the intersection of 69th Street and Southeastern Avenue on the southeast side of Sioux Falls.
  • The new freshmen academy – which will eventually expand to be a second high school – is located at the southwest corner of 85th Street and Cliff Avenue.

What happens next?

Now that the funding is in place, Harrisburg moves to the design phase for the new school.

  • The goal is to start construction in the spring with a target opening date of fall 2024.
"The vote is an affirmation that, as a school community, we are committed to providing our students with a modern learning environment," Superintendent Tim Graf said in a statement Tuesday.