Regents will adopt plans this year for shifting missions at South Dakota’s university centers

Capitol News Bureau

PIERRE, S.D. (KELO) — Current enrollments aren’t meeting expectations at the state’s two remaining university centers, according to the executive director for the South Dakota Board of Regents.

The result is the regents have started changing the purposes of the Rapid City campus, in part to address South Dakota’s shortage of healthcare nurses, Brian Maher told the Legislature’s Government Operations and Audit Committee.

He said the plan for the Sioux Falls campus is still coming together. The regents are expected to adopt it as part of a broader overall plan for changes system-wide at their December 9 meeting at South Dakota State University in Brookings, according to Maher.

The Rapid City plan calls for moving all nursing programs in western South Dakota to the campus and placing them under SDSU, while Black Hills State University would offer health sciences courses.

The regents have asked Governor Kristi Noem to recommend the Legislature spend $8 million for renovations there. That would be supplemented by $5.1 million from students’ payments into the state’s Higher Education Facilities Fund and $2 million from the private sector,

Under the same package of requests, the regents also want the governor to recommend the Legislature spend $14 million to pay off bonds at the Sioux Falls campus.

Lawmakers will hear the governor’s recommendations in early December. They open the 2022 session on Tuesday, January 11.

BHSU, based in Spearfish, manages the Rapid City campus. University of South Dakota, based in Vermillion, runs what’s now known as the Community College of Sioux Falls.

The regents delivered financial reports for the Rapid City campus and the Sioux Falls campus to the committee prior to the Thursday meeting.

Maher set aside a rumor that Sioux Falls would be hosting a nurses training program — “I don’t think that’s in the plan,” he said — but acknowledged there might be a greater push in health sciences.

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