KASD begins 2023-2024 academic year with a new middle and high school
The Kadoka Area School District (KASD) will start the 2023-2024 academic year with a new facility to accommodate middle school and high school students. The multipurpose facility began as the KASD Gymnasium, a project completed in 2017. The initial phase of the project included the gymnasium, locker rooms and a weight training room complete with cardiovascular equipment. To economize and streamline the design, the new school features a shared entry vestibule which faces to the east and opens into a common space between the concessions stand, restrooms and classrooms, located to the south, and the gymnasium, located to the north. The vestibule serves as a single-entry point or a chokepoint entry to deter any unauthorized access or entry to the school.
The high school is comprised of students who completed their primary education in Kadoka or one of the rural schools in Interior, Long Valley or Midland. The KASD reports approximately 50 students enrolled in middle school grades six, seven and eight with approximately 75 students slated to attend high school grades nine through twelve. There are five middle school instructors and teacher aides and eight high school instructors and aides. The KASD continues to recruit substitute teachers to assist at all grade levels and encourages applicants to complete and submit their application online at www.kadoka.k12.sd.us. The website also provides various portals for students and their parents or guardians in addition to an events calendar and daily announcements.
When classwork resumes on August 23, the new facility will offer eight classrooms for regular instruction. Three classrooms are designated for instruction of sixth, seventh, and eighth grade students and five classrooms designated for instruction of high school students. Two specialized classrooms offer equipment, such as a chemical fume hood, to help students safely conduct scientific experiments at both the middle school and high school levels. One classroom is designated solely to instruct students in adult life skills as they develop the skills necessary to maintain their personal finances or how to rent or purchase an apartment or home for the first time in addition to basic homemaking skills, such as how to do laundry, sew on a button or cook a grilled cheese sandwich. Learning these skills better prepares today’s students for tomorrow by helping them successfully transition from their childhood home into their own first-time home.
In addition to these classrooms, the facility offers designated spaces which includes a media center that functions as an electronic library designed to “increase students’ reading skills and to improve their abilities to use technology, books, and other materials”. A learning center located in an interior commons area provides a space for students to engage in activities which are also “self-checking and self-selecting. The activities are used to focus on a set of skills and deepen the students’ knowledge and abilities in that area. Students can work alone, in pairs, or in small groups”. A resource room is available to students with educational disabilities where they receive “direct, specialized instruction and academic remediation and assistance with homework, and related assignments as individuals or in groups”. The facility provides office space for instructors and teaching assistants, multiple conference rooms and a staff lounge in addition to an office for the school principal and a reception area located adjacent to the vestibule. In addition to classrooms and offices for staff, the facility contains mechanical rooms to house the myriad of electrical wiring, plumbing of water and sewer lines and the equipment for a heating, ventilation and air conditioning system in addition to a wireless network that enables students, staff and visitors to obtain secure, high-speed internet. In the reception area, the school implements security measures to ensure the safety of the students, staff and visitors.
The endeavor to begin the new construction project began in August 2022, after Jamie Hermann, KASD superintendent, submitted the Kadoka city council with a permit for a new construction project and the plans for the 25,000 square foot addition. Initially, some Councilmembers expressed concerns that the structure may encroach upon the boundaries as the ordinances require a “set- back of not less than ten feet on each side of any public utility line to any built structure.” The Council approved the building permit on August 8, 2022, and on August 10, 2022, the KASD board moved to conduct a groundbreaking ceremony held after the 2022 KASD homecoming parade.
The contractor, Dean Kurtz Construction (DRC), Rapid City, visited the site in early August of 2022, to assess and prepare for the yearlong project. DRC utilizes a design-build concept of construction which, “places the design and construction in the hands of a single entity. This integrated approach streamlines the project delivery system by establishing one point of responsibility and seamlessly coordinates the design and construction process”. DRC established communication at the onset of the project, by conducting a weekly meeting with Hermann in order to keep him abreast of the progress. The project came in on time allowing the students and staff to move into the new facility as originally planned on August 23. The turnkey costs for the building project, totaling $7.2 million, which includes the new furnishings and fixtures. This year, the students and staff are truly fortunate to embark on a learning experience in a facility built to provide our young people with the opportunity to fully embrace their education and apply it when they walk out of the vestibule on the day of their high school graduation.