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Tear-down, rebuild approved for Whittier Middle School in Sioux Falls

Some Sioux Falls families may need to find a new middle school following the local board’s decision to rebuild Whittier Middle.

The project is expected to begin as soon as possible.

The school board will target 2030 as the completion date for the new Whittier Middle School following a complete tear-down and rebuild.

Assistant Superintendent James Nold broke down the current plans.

“This impacts the least number of houses in the area and allows the needed space to construct the building," Nold said. "This new school would be constructed on the site that is currently the football field going into some of that space that would be the block and a half in between the current Whittier School and the football field. That location is between 3rd and 4th streets going towards Whittier Middle School.”

However, some like art teacher Zach DeBoer hoped to find a way to keep the building intact.

“I would like to urge you to consider an option that does not remove the existing school, and instead find a way to creatively reuse this space," DeBoer said. "Whether that be through continuing its use as a school building – perhaps as an intermediate school – or sell it off so it can be reused as something that can serve the community.”

The current building is a century old, but superintendent Jane Stavem said this plan has been in motion for some time.

“One of the things that we talked about is realizing the historical significance of the neighborhood," Stavem said. "We are also stewards of those buildings and when they outdo their lifecycle, we have other factors like safety and HVAC systems and somethings that just may not be feasible to replace. Then we have that choice – whether its new or remodeled.”

The plan to replace Whittier goes back nearly a decade.

C.J. Keene is a Rapid City-based journalist covering the legal system, education, and culture