Under regents’ plan, purpose will change, again, at what once was University Center-Sioux Falls

Capitol News Bureau

SIOUX FALLS, S.D. (KELO) — The vision that led to construction of a public university campus on the north side of Sioux Falls a decade ago has turned out to be a financial loser for the South Dakota Board of Regents.

University Center-Sioux Falls was meant to be a place where several of South Dakota’s traditional campuses could offer courses for students in the state’s largest city.

But a political fight led the Legislature to require that state tuition support wouldn’t be available there, meaning students had to pay their full way.

That decision, combined with more students taking online courses, doomed the new campus. The regents in 2015 put the University of South Dakota in charge of managing the center, and in 2019, the name and purpose changed to Community College for Sioux Falls.

Now the regents want to switch its role again, or sell it to get out from under the remaining debt.

Those are the options listed in the Senate Bill 55 efficiencies report that the regents are set to approve later this week.

One of the three buildings there is the USD Graduate Education and Applied Research aka GEAR Center. It’s full and looking to expand.

The regents are considering changing the purpose of the main classroom building and using it for the GEAR Center expansion. The two connect by an enclosed walkway over North Career Avenue.

The third building, designed for science and technology classes, could be changed to a site for South Dakota State University’s health sciences program in Sioux Falls. SDSU already hosts upper-level pharmacy courses at the center, while its nursing courses are at nearby Southeast Technical College.

The other option is to put the two classroom buildings up for sale. Renovations to one or both classroom buildings require the Legislature’s approval. The Legislature also might need to modify the state law that was passed in 2006 to establish the campus, so that the buildings can be sold.

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