Voters within the Sioux Falls School District are pondering whether or not to approve a $190-million bond issue for new building projects. Onetime Sioux Falls high school seniors, who are now senior citizens, can relate to the anticipation of setting foot inside a brand-new building.
The graduating Class of 1968 was the first to complete all three years at Lincoln High School. They remember the growing pains the district was going through in the sixties, and see parallels to the overcrowded classrooms of today.
Lincoln High School opened to much fanfare, including a visit by then-U.S. Senator George McGovern in the fall of 1965.
“It was so exciting to get to go to the new school. I guess I kind of relate that to somebody getting a new car or a new house, we were so excited,” 1968 Lincoln graduate Barb Scherschligt said.
The new school was state-of-the-art for its day. But not without some controversy.
“I remember even when they were talking about some of the things they were going to build in the school and the public couldn’t understand why we were going to have carpet in some of these classrooms. My gosh! We don’t put carpet in classrooms, you know,” 1968 Lincoln graduate Rick Middlen said.
Lincoln was built to relieve overcrowding at the old Washington High School. More than 50 years later, overcrowding plagues the Sioux Falls School District once again.
“They were smart enough back at Lincoln to get that done with just Washington at that time and I think that there’s definitely a need now to do the same thing for another high school and middle school,” Middlen said.
“Kids need room to grow and learn and experience life and when you can barely move in a classroom environment, it’s pretty tough,” Scherschligt said.
Brand-new in 1965, Lincoln is now the oldest public high school in Sioux Falls. And the Class of ’68 has plenty of school pride in being pioneering Patriots.
Construction of Lincoln ran about six-weeks behind schedule, so the new Lincoln students had to begin the year by attending school for half-days at Washington.
We’ll hear more about those early days of Lincoln High School coming up on this weekend’s edition of Inside KELOLAND, which airs Sunday night.