According to the Department of Education, 16,422 South Dakota students were enrolled in non–public schools in 2011; that’s 175 fewer enrollees than a year prior. Although that number pales in comparison to the 127, 769 students enrolled in public school, a Rapid City private school looks to expand to accommodate its growing number of students.
Terra Sancta school and retreat center will cost Rapid City Catholic Schools and the Rapid City Diocese $16.5 million to build. But school administrators say the 150,000 square foot facility is worth the cost because students will have a larger space to receive a quality education.
Terra Sancta will open to pre–kindergarten through fifth grade students in august, as well as those in need of a spiritual getaway. The new facility also means middle school students will regain full control of St. Elizabeth Seton and high school students will fully access St. Thomas More.
“Right now we are quite cramped for space and with the move to Terra Sancta, with moving our younger children out, it’s going to open up St. Elizabeth Seton,” said Superintendent Barb Honeycutt.
“I think it would be a great place for the children to come and it will be safe and there is enough room for all the needs that they have,” said John Schaack, parent of two.
The new facility features a 400 seat chapel, 34 room convent, kitchen and even an outdoor trail. Terra Sancta is Latin for holy land.