Come Monday, the Sioux Falls School District could have an architect team to build a new high school. This comes after 85-percent of voters said yes to Tuesday night’s referendum. The $190-million bond will also pay for a new middle school, new elementary school, and upgrades to existing buildings. Only about 17-percent of registered voters in the district turned out to vote. Now the question is, what happens next?
Superintendent Brian Maher says the district plans to start interviewing teams of architects as soon as Thursday. The reason school leaders are beginning this process right away is they want to meet deadlines recommended by a district task force. The recommendation is to build an $82-million high school in the Northwest part of town near the Sanford Pentagon. They could start to narrow down the location, as soon as next week. The new high school would be ready for students by fall of 2021. That’s the same year they want to have a $43-million middle school ready for students in the southeast part of town.
“First of all, just a huge thank you to the citizens of Sioux Falls for the overwhelming support,” Maher said during a news conference on Wednesday.
Though the district is wasting no time finding architects to build a new high school, Maher says we’re at least a year away from redistricting school boundaries. He says the process will be similar to forming the plan for the bond.
“That is really having a good deal of community input and community impact on those final decisions,” Maher said.
Maher says, long term, this will be good news to parents and families who want to open enroll their students.
“We have many schools right now where we won’t let you open enroll into them because they’re full. By opening more buildings, hopefully, we’ll be able to open up options,” Maher said.
Don’t expect these hallways to clear out just yet. Maher asks parents to be patient for the next three years.
“We’re still going to be crowded for a little while. We’re still going to be very crowded. Our issues won’t go away immediately, but they will go away eventually,” Maher said.
As for the people who voted against the bond, Maher has a message for them.
“What would I tell the 15-percent? I would tell them the same thing I would tell the 85-percent. Thanks for being part of the process; thanks for being part of democracy in action,” Maher said.
Maher also asked another question many viewers have been asking. What will the district name the new schools, and when will that happen? He says, you could be waiting a while to know the answer because that’s not a time sensitive matter. There’s a policy in place for naming schools, and the district will follow that.