By Brett Nachtigall
HOT SPRINGS – The Hot Springs School Board, this past Monday night, approved a resolution to issue and sell capital outlay certificates of up to $3.2 million for the purposes of building a new Career & Technical Education (CTE) building at the site of the current welding and wood shop building.
Superintendent Dennis Fischer said the actual amount of the project will most likely be much less, but is dependent on the district’s ability to utilize available federal COVID monies.
Earlier this year, the school board approved a plan to begin working with an architect to design the building, which is still ongoing. Fischer said the various instructors who will be housed in the building are working together with the architects to come up with a design.
Demolition of the current shop building is expected to begin shortly after the end of school this upcoming May. Fischer said plans on moving along swiftly to take advantage of the current low interest rates and get ahead of other area schools who are also considering beginning construction projects.
Also during this week’s meeting, the board approved Personnel Actions which included the resignation of current Assistant Principal/Athletic Director Charles Hruby, who was in his first year at Hot Springs. Hruby resignation will not take effect until July 1, 2021, as he will finish out the current school year.
The Personnel Actions also included the hiring of Deborah Rankin as a high school science teacher, effective August 16, 2021. Her future employment at the school district was discussed during the meeting, with the hire praised by both Principal Troy Lurz and Assistant Principal Hruby, who both said she will be a big asset to the school in the future.
Lurz said Rankin is originally from Belle Fourche and is currently employed at the South Dakoa School of Mines & Technology, where she is heavily involved with the Chemisty and Biology labs.
It was noted that she will be replacing John Entwisle, who is retiring at the end of this year, but will not be taking over his position. Lurz said Rankin has already become invested in her future at the school by discussing her strengths with the other high school science teachers, which will lead to a restructuring of how the various science classes will be set up next year.
Early in the board meeting, the school board also heard a presentation by senior students Nathanial Dubois and Marcus Harkless who are part of the leadership team in a newly formed Hot Springs Native American Youth Group. The two boys said the goal of the new club is to help instill pride in students at Hot Springs Middle School and High School of Native American dissent.
Supt. Fischer said the club was helped to be made possible through the use of Title 6 Funds, which supported the Lakota Language class the school had previously offered, until the instructor resigned last year. He added that just under 10 percent of the students in the district are Native American.