Oglala Lakota County schools eyeing building expansion

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PINE RIDGE, S.D. (KOTA TV) The Oglala Lakota County public schools are embarking on a major expansion effort that includes plans for revamping an elementary school and building the first ever public high school on the Pine Ridge Indian Reservation.

The Wolf Creek elementary School in the Oglala Lakota County school District is bursting at the seams.

“It was originally built for enrollment of 350 students but by the end of May we may have as many as 900,” said Superintendent Anthony Fairbanks, noting the district hopes to build a new school on the existing site just east of Pine Ridge Village.

And the district has no high school. The four other high schools on the Pine Ridge Reservation are either private or federally run. That might change.

“When I first started teaching here in the 80's the parents were talking about having our own high school back then because a lot of our children going into the other high schools and they were not successful they were dropping out,” said School Board President Bryan Brewer.

Preliminary work is underway to make the new school a reality.

“We're doing a needs assessment, finding out what type of school this whole look like some ideas are like a vo-tech type of atmosphere,” said Fairbanks.

The district has prepared a survey form seeking input from the community on what they’d like to see in a new high school.

Next up? Turning over every leaf to find the money.

Next week, Fairbanks, Brewer and others are headed to Washington, D.C., for meetings with public and private entities to start lining up funding for their ambitious project.

“We need to find that funding stream to support this beautiful dream that we have for Oglala Lakota County,” said Fairbanks.