Douglas School District prepares to expand with the influx of people moving to Box Elder

Local News

BOX ELDER, S.D. (KELO) — Box Elder is one of South Dakota’s fastest-growing cities, and will be for the next 7 years. With the population growing and the B-21 Raider coming to town, the Douglas School District is preparing.

At Vandenberg Elementary in Box Elder, teachers and staff are learning how the school district will adjust to thousands of more students.

“It’s crazy what we are going to accomplish in the amount of time that we are going to accomplish it and that is fast-moving, that is fast driven and that is definitely planning,” Sheila Sivertsen, teacher, said.

While this is a little nerve-wracking for some teachers, the common thought seems to be excitement.

“For years I’ve taught in this district, for 22 years and there were years where our base was on the possible closure list and that was scary for a lot of families. So it’s pretty exciting to have job security for everyone and the opportunity to impact so many families,” Cathleen Denekamp, teacher, said.

The Douglas School District is expecting to gain about 2,900 students in the next seven to ten years.

Kevin Case is the new Superintendent for the district. He says with the massive influx of students, there are a few challenges including funding, major construction projects, and staffing.

“Obviously our facilities are currently at capacity so that creates some unique opportunities for our district,” Case said.

However, Case says he has high hopes for the future.

“There’s things in our control as a district and there’s things outside of our control. So I think we know that our responsibility is to educate our students to the best of our ability so with the growth we are going to see our job has been to really look forward, plan for the future, and plan for the facilities that we need to develop,” Case said.

By 2029, the Douglas School District hopes to have 6 elementary schools, 2 middle schools and one high school. They plan to add or transition 3 new schools.

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