Simplified: The Brandon Valley School District is planning on seeing at least another 2,500 students in the next 20 years. They're starting now in planning how to make room for that growth.
Why it matters
- Rapid growth in eastern Sioux Falls means more people are moving into the Brandon Valley School District boundaries.
- The district is already growing fast. In the last 20 years, it went from just over 2,500 students to more than 4,600.
- Future plans involve expanding from seven school buildings to 12, including a new alternative and career-focused high school, a new middle school, intermediate school and three new elementary school buildings.
"It is a proactive approach to the management of student growth and will allow us to continue to create learning environments that result in success," Brandon Valley Superintendent Jarod Larson said.
Why plan for 2040?
Peace of mind.
Larson said when he first came to the district about five years ago, there was some uncertainty and unrest about how to accommodate more kids coming to Brandon Valley schools.
As Brandon, Valley Springs and Sioux Falls continue to grow, the district wanted to plan ahead.
The long-range plan could also be sped up or slowed down as needed, Larson said. So if growth happens faster than expected, they know where new buildings can go and what will be needed.
What new buildings are planned?
Several. Though exact timelines will depend on the pace of growth. Let's walk through at each level:
- The new Inspiration Elementary will open this fall at 41st Street and Sparta Avenue, near Veterans Parkway.
- An east-side elementary school is also planned in east Brandon in a plot of land that's currently a corn field. That's located north of Bethany Home near the intersection of Redwood Boulevard and Chestnut Avenue.
- The district also already has land slated for a west-side elementary school located near Rosemary Street between Madison and Maple Streets west of Powder House Road.
- The district currently has one intermediate school for fifth and sixth graders. The plan is to eventually add a second location at an already identified site just south of the new Inspiration Elementary School near 49th Street and Veterans Parkway.
- No redistricting will be necessary at the middle school level, Larson said. BVIS South will get students from Inspiration, Fred Assam and the future west elementary school. The future east site will replace Valley Springs Elementary, and along with Brandon and Robert Bennis Elementary schools will feed into the existing BVIS North.
- By 2040, Brandon Valley is also expecting a new middle school for seventh and eighth grade students in the south part of the district. No site has been selected yet.
- Plans for an addition to the existing Brandon Valley High School are underway, Larson said. That will add room for another 400-500 students and is expected to be ready to open by fall 2023.
- The district also plans to repurpose the current Valley Springs Elementary lot to build some sort of new alternative high school with a mix of career and technical education, as well as some options for students who need a different type of learning outside the traditional high school setting.
- The plans are very vague and fluid at this point, but Larson sees potential for accommodating students who want a place to do online classes, work around a part-time job schedule and for those who want a STEM or career-specific focus.
Who's paying for this?
As with any public school project, taxpayers.
The Brandon Valley 2040 vision includes a line stipulating that all projects are subject to successful bond and capital outlay availability.
The hope is that by laying out the plan early, the district can communicate the future vision of the district to the public, Larson said.
What happens next?
The only components of the plan with a set timeline are the new Inspiration Elementary School, which opens this fall, and the addition to Brandon Valley High School which is expected to be planned, bid, constructed and ready to open by fall 2023.