VALLEY SPRINGS, SD (KELO) — The century-old school in Valley Springs will be closing its doors for good earlier than expected. The Brandon Valley School District will shutter Valley Springs Elementary at the end of this school year as a cost-saving measure.
The elementary school has been a fixture in Valley Springs since 1922.
“I drive by there every day and see the kids out playing so yeah, definitely miss seeing everything there.” Jennifer Boler of Valley Springs said.
The school was slated to close in 2025. But this fall’s enrollment didn’t meet expectations, so the school is closing earlier as part of belt-tightening that comes with fewer dollars from the state.
“So we have a 135 student enrollment shortfall here for the fall. That equates to just over $900,000 in the scheme of things,” Brandon Valley School District Superintendent Jarod Larson said.
The Valley Springs students will attend Brandon Elementary until a new elementary school on the east side of Brandon opens in the fall of 2026.
“It should be a relatively seamless transition. I would anticipate those 65 students fitting in very well at Brandon Elementary,” Larson said.
A school is a source of identity and community pride for a small town like Valley Springs, which makes the elementary’s closing all the more difficult to take.
“With the uncertainty of jobs and kids and I don’t know if it’s a great idea. I think it’s quite a loss,” Boler said.
The building will likely be torn-down following the school year, putting its 65 students on a new educational track as many locals say they’ll miss the void left behind.
Valley Springs won’t be left entirely without a school. Long-range plans by the district include building a high school academy specializing in either technical education, or STEM fields or fine arts. But construction is at least ten years away, until enrollment at Brandon Valley High School reaches capacity.