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Seminary Students Making Progress In Pettigrew Heights

July 11, 2008, 4:36 PM by Katie Janssen

Seminary Students Making Progress In Pettigrew Heights
Some Sioux Falls Seminary students aren't getting much of a summer vacation.

They're busy fixing up an apartment building the seminary bought in May, in one of the city's problem areas. 

There are no "lazy days of summer" for this group of students working under a tight deadline. 

"Getting the resident directors apartment ready, they'll be moving in in a week or two,” said seminarian Isaac Smith. “And the rest of the seminary students will move in at the end of August." 

The apartments at 12th and Summit are right in the heart of Pettigrew Heights - a neighborhood that's had some trouble with crime, drugs, and alcohol. 

Right now, students are painting the fence and spraying weeds, and Smith says eventually, they'll need volunteers to do plumbing and electrical work. 

"What we're doing with the building is beautification, restoration, keeping up with city ordinances,” said Smith. “An example of the things we want to help people with in their homes." 

But more than just the outside appearance of the area, students are also getting to know the people who live here. 

Smith compares the experience to taking care of a tree. He says you can care for the trunk, branches, and leaves, but you also have to pay attention to the roots. 

"If a tree is unhealthy, you can guarantee the roots are unhealthy, too,” he said. “So we want to go at the roots of the problems." 

And in doing so, they're providing a service to the community, and a little Christian fellowship to its residents.

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