BALTIC, S.D. (KELO) — The Baltic School District’s enrollment is steadily increasing and it will soon have a brand-new high school built onto the current facility.

As the Sioux Falls area grows, a smaller school district just north of the city is also seeing more students.

“We’ve been averaging for about the last 10 years, about 5% growth per year, so right now pre-k through 12, we’re at about 620 kids, and that’s just been going up 15 or 20 kids a year. Our big thing is that our current facility is a great facility for two sections per grade, but our last two kindergarten classes have been three sections,” superintendent Bob Sittig said.

Bob Sittig has been with the district for 44 years and superintendent for 24 of them. He expects growth to be the trend moving forward.

“Our voters approved a $21.2 million bond issue to build a new high school by 73%,” he said.

The Baltic School District has its preschool through 12th grade all under one roof, and this area you see behind me is the current high school, and plans are to add the brand-new high school on this hill directly east of the school. It was all land that was donated for this project.

It will include a new gymnasium, performing arts center, vocation technical area, music rooms and other classrooms. The current elementary will expand into the middle school, the middle school will move to the current high school and the high school will be in the new addition.

Sittig says the new gym will have double the current capacity and will be modeled after the new Jefferson High School gym in Sioux Falls.

“Our current gym is just maxed out. And so we need it for PE classes, but it’ll also be exciting for our bigger events. As we grow, we’re playing bigger schools and they bring bigger crowds and so on,” Sittig said.

Girls basketball head coach Shawn Geigle is looking forward to easier scheduling and having more space for every team.

“Right now for practice-wise after school, one of us practices here at the high school and one of us goes to the old gym just a block away, so it’ll be nice just to have everybody in the same building and not have to travel back and forth,” he said.

And he says the facilities are a big bonus for all students.

“Locker room space, storage space, all that for coaches. I think it’s just going to be a big positive as far as the whole athletic aspect of everything goes,” he said.

Freshman Meredith Larson will be able to use the new facilities as an upper classman. She is a multi-sport athlete and in choir.

“That’s awesome for us, because right now for basketball, we have to split up between our really old gym and our current gym because we have so many kids, but now having a brand-new gym, that’ll be really nice,” Larson said.

And the gym is not the only big addition. The performing arts center will be a first for the school for all of its fine arts programs.

Kyra Haak is the one-act play and junior high drama coach and says it will be a big upgrade from the current stage in the gym.

“It’s going to be huge. Right now, because we’re in the gym, we deal with things like the basketball hoops being in the way and the lighting not being that great, but with this new facility, we won’t have to worry about those types of things, and it’s going to be exciting for the community to get to come see,” Haak said.

“The acoustics will be way better, and it’ll just be a way cooler space with actual seating for performances,” Larson said.

This is a rendering of what the exterior of the new high school will look like at a couple different entrances. This is the floor plan. The grey area on the left is the current facility and the colored area is all that will be added almost doubling in size. It will be two levels.

Their current high school was built in the 80s and the elementary school and middle school were added on in 2006.

“We didn’t know how long that would last, but the Sioux Falls area has just exploded and so that growth is coming out here. We’re still a small community and compared to a lot of the area schools, we’re still a fairly small school and a lot of people like that,” Sittig said.

And from everything from class to games to performances, community members are looking forward to the future.

“They just seem really excited about what this will mean for our school and community,” Sittig said.

Sittig says they expect to start construction in the spring and hope for it to be complete by August of 2024.

If you would like to view the plans for the project, you can find them on the Baltic School District website.