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February 12, 2018 09:54 PM

Inside Sioux Falls Lutheran School's Planned Expansion

Sioux Falls, SD

Sioux Falls public schools are nearing full capacity. But they're not the only ones running out of space.

Sanford Health recently gave Sioux Falls Lutheran School around 30 acres of land and will give up to $5 million. 

That will be used to build a new pre-Kindergarten through eighth grade school at 69th Street and Tallgrass Avenue, southeast of the Interstate 29 and 229 interchange.

Sarah Gilster has two kids attending Sioux Falls Lutheran School, and they'll eventually move over to the new location.

"It's excellent, we're very excited about this, we're getting more bodies hopefully in here, more students, we love this school," Gilster said.

Space here comes at a premium. 

"We use every inch of this school, and to just think that we're going to have 30 acres, we're going to have green space outside, we're going to have just more room," physical education teacher Melanie Nelson said.

Take this third-grade classroom, for example: It's located right next to a boiler room.

"That's the constant buzzing sound," third-grade teacher Katie Mlnarik said.

Also next door is this music room.

"It's quite distracting, we have to constant reminding to keep working and close the door, and they get up and close the door, and so, we're really focused in here, and we work on our focus," Mlnarik said.

The new school will bring more space.

"Our current parents are of course going to experience a facility that is much less crowded, far easier to access," Tia Esser, administrator for Sioux Falls Lutheran School, said.

There will also be room for a high school someday.

"We've got some fundraising to do, but that's the goal, is to have a seamless full continuum of educational and child care services from babies all the way up through 12th grade," Esser said.

Gilster's kids are in second grade and preschool. They come from beyond Sioux Falls, but don't mind the commute.

"We live in Garretson, and so it's a little bit further for us to drive here, but we are more than willing to do that for them to have that experience of a new building," Gilster said.

Esser says that they hope construction begins on the new school "later this year." As far as an opening date, she says it could happen in 2019.

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