Simplified: The designs are in the works. The funds are nearly raised, and the Sioux Falls Outdoor Campus is looking to break ground on a $6.7 million expansion as early as next spring. Here's a look at what's coming.
Why it matters
- The Outdoor Campus, run by the state Game, Fish and Parks Department, has been offering free programming for 26 years to help people – primarily kids – learn skills to help them appreciate the outdoors, including fishing, hunting and more.
- As Sioux Falls grows, though, the campus is looking to grow, too. Plans include adding a 60-yard outdoor archery range, a 20-yard indoor archery range, more classroom space and an interactive museum.
- The South Dakota Parks and Wildlife Foundation has agreed to raise $3 million to support this expansion, and they're most of the way there. Executive Director Kristina Coby said Thursday the foundation is 86 percent of the way to meeting that goal. Additional funding is expected to come from the federal and state governments.
"It's an exciting project for us," Outdoor Campus Director David Parker told Sioux Falls Simplified. "The goal is to be able to increase our free programming to the public."
Tell me more about the expansion plans
The designs haven't been completely finalized, but new features are expected to include:
- A 60-yard outdoor range to practice archery and BB gun shooting,
- A 20-yard indoor archery/BB range in a space that can also serve as a multipurpose room for events,
- A cooking classroom and additional indoor classroom space,
- Larger bathrooms, including a family bathroom,
- A mother's room,
- An improved wildlife viewing area,
- A larger museum area,
- An outdoor area for processing and cooking game,
- And office space for the numerous interns who help the campus run year-round.
What happens next?
The fundraising continues, Coby said, and the goal right now is to get the word out to as many people as possible that this expansion is happening.
"We've had people donate everything from a few pennies to $1 million," Coby said, adding that the variety of support shows just how important the campus is to the people of Sioux Falls and the state as a whole.
If all goes as planned, Parker said groundbreaking on the outdoor range could be as soon as April, with work on the indoor expansion to start late summer.
- All told, the expansion could be completed by 2025.