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South Dakota Discovery Center looking to build new facility

The SD Discovery Center in Pierre is considering the possibility of building a new facility to...
The SD Discovery Center in Pierre is considering the possibility of building a new facility to better meet the needs of the communities they serve.(Austin Goss DNN/KOTA)
Published: Dec. 10, 2021 at 9:31 PM CST
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PIERRE, S.D. - The South Dakota Discovery Center is outgrowing it’s aging building, and is looking for a new space to call home.

The Discovery Center has been located on Sioux Avenue in Pierre since the 1980s. The building itself has been around much longer than that, and is in serious disrepair.

Executive Director Rhea Waldman says the basement is prone to water leaks, and the building’s huge windows are outdated and inefficient.

“We are thinking about who can we be and what can we be if we are not bound to the restrictions of this building we currently have,” Waldman said. “Thinking about expansions for staff also, maybe a little bigger exhibit hall so we can not only reach elementary school aged kids, but we can expand our age groups a little bit as well.”

A task force has been commissioned to consider new sites. Right now, they have their eyes on two potential spots, one in Pierre and one in Fort Pierre.

“We want to allow for growth, and not only for us as an organization as we are growing. Just in the last few years, we have doubled our staff size. We also want to have a growing mindset, where people can come here, feel welcome, and can expand their mind,” Waldman said.

A new space and building will not only allow the Discovery Center staff to worry less about the expenses and hazards of constant repairs, it will also provide better services and experiences to kids throughout the region.

“For kids and adults, it is just a great place to come together and utilize these resources,” said Aaron Fabel, CEO of the Oahe Family YMCA. “What makes Pierre such a great place to live and work are places like this, that benefit the entire region.”

There is no time frame yet for when construction on a new site could possibly begin.

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