Sioux Falls School District construction update: New gym at Cleveland Elementary, full control of Jefferson, auditorium work at Ben Reifel Original

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SIOUX FALLS, S.D. (KELO) — As construction winds down on Sioux Falls’ newest high and middle school, one longtime elementary school is getting a major facelift.   

Cleveland Elementary, located in eastern Sioux Falls near 18th Street and Bahnson Ave., will be getting a new gym, more classrooms, offices, multi-use rooms, bathrooms and windows. Jeff Kreiter, Director of Operational Services for the Sioux Falls School District, said the project at Cleveland Elementary is a two-year project with the gym hopefully opening by Christmas. 

“We want good places for our kids to go to school,” Kreiter said. “The community has been very supportive with us.”

Kreiter said when the new gym is ready, the existing food service area will be converted to music rooms, while the old gym will turn into the food service area. The final touches to the project will include a new playground and a new parking lot at the school. 

“It’ll make it better for all the kids at school,” Kreiter said. 

The updates at Cleveland will bring the school up to district standards, Kreiter said. He noted the project was approved through the $190 million school bond vote passed by voters in 2018. That money is part of a Capital Improvement Plan, which also funded Jefferson High School and Ben Reifel Middle School. 

Along with the construction at Cleveland Elementary, Kreiter says more construction work is happening at Jane Adams Elementary, Horace Mann Elementary, Laura Wilder Elementary, Patrick Henry Middle and Lincoln High.

“There’s new carpet and painting at about 28 various schools,” Kreiter said. “There’s something going on in virtually every school.” 

There are 36 school buildings and 44 total buildings in the district representing nearly four million square feet. 

Final touches happening at Jefferson, Ben Reifel 

The first day of school is set for Thursday, August 26, and Kreiter said both Jefferson and Ben Reifel will be ready to go. 

“We’ve taken occupancy of Jefferson,” said Kreiter, adding there’s still plenty of furniture incoming and athletic camps are taking place. “We’re starting to use it, but there’s a lot of boxes and we’ll filter through that in the next two months and be ready for school.” 

At Ben Reifel, he said the school district has temporary occupancy for the offices and noted the academic wings are “pretty much finished.” 

He said work continues on the school’s auditorium and crews are “bringing furniture in like crazy.” 

Despite the pandemic and the impacts on building materials being experienced now, construction was never impacted, Kreiter said. For other future school projects, he said some projects won’t be able to rely on some certain materials. 

“The new schools went great,” Kreiter said.

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