HARRISBURG, S.D. (KELO) – In a time when many local school districts are consolidating, two cities in KELOLAND are expanding. One of those is the Sioux Falls School District’s latest addition; a groundbreaking event was held for Ben Reifel Middle School on Monday.
Harrisburg is also breaking ground on a facility that will help get students ready for technical careers. The Sioux Empire Home Builders Care Foundation teamed up with the district to build the Home Builders Academy on the Harrisburg High School campus. It’s a taste of things to come as Harrisburg expands its footprint to accommodate a growing student body.
When you’re in Harrisburg, you’re on Tiger turf. There’s about to be more of it.
“It’s progress,” father Todd McCallum said.
Harrisburg remains one of the fastest growing districts in South Dakota. The district expects more than 5,000 students to fill classrooms at its six elementary schools, two middle schools and high school. The district’s previous superintendent has said that number surged from about 1,200 in a little more than a decade. New superintendent Tim Graf says economic growth in the Sioux Falls area is why Harrisburg is seeing more students.
“Just the number of housing developments and things that are going on and moving outside Sioux Falls city limits as well as the growth inside Sioux Falls city limits,” Graf said.
In addition to the expansion at the high school, the district will soon add a seventh elementary school. Graf says that could be just the beginning.
“Right now, I know there’s been some very preliminary conversations about another high school. As growth continues, we’re going to have to address that one way or another,” Graf said.
With more buildings, Graf says maintaining the quality of programs and keeping staff numbers on pace with student growth will be top priorities in the coming years.
“To provide as many opportunities for students to explore and to be able to do things they truly have an interest in and an aptitude in is a positive for everyone,” Graf said.
With two kids in the district, McCallum is glad to see the schools grow and change right along with them.
“Harrisburg is going to be innovative and they are going to be keeping up with the times and they’re going to offer lots of different options as far as educational opportunities,” McCallum said.