Simplified: The Sioux Falls School District is ready to go to bid on the final project funded by a historic $180 million bond approved by voters in 2018. Here's what you need to know about a new elementary school planned for northwest Sioux Falls.
Why it matters
- The bond secured funding for new school buildings at each level (elementary, middle and high), as well as various other improvement projects for existing schools in the district. Ben Reifel Middle School and Jefferson High School both opened in the fall of 2021.
- District officials put the elementary school project on the back burner for a bit when enrollment slowed during the pandemic, but last fall, conversations about the need for a new school reignited with plans to build on the same campus as George McGovern Middle School, west of Marion Road on Maple Street.
- Rising construction costs in recent years mean the district will likely be paying $4 to $5 million more than planned for the school, but Director of Operational Services Jeff Kreiter said he's seen close to $7 million in savings so far with bond-funded projects that'll be able to bridge the gap.
"We have a little bit of money to play with," Kreiter said.
Tell me more about the new elementary school
The planned 83,000-square-foot building will use essentially the same layout as both Susan B. Anthony and Sonia Sotomayor Elementary Schools.
The project was initially budgeted at $21 million, but with inflation, the final costs could surpass $25 million.
The district also anticipates it'll be tricky finding workers to build the building given the amount of construction happening in Sioux Falls right now.
- That's why they're aiming for a fall 2025 opening date, to give crews more time and flexibility to complete the project.
"We’re doing everything we can as far as timeframe so contractors will look at it in a favorable light," Kreiter said.
What happens next?
City Council on Tuesday approved the rezone needed to move forward, and Kreiter said the project is expected to go to bid in June in the hopes of starting construction in July or August.