Ground broken for new Crow Creek gym

Stephan, South Dakota (AP)

The Crow Creek School’s gymnasium was condemned in 2004. Now, students, staff and district officials are ready for a fresh start.

Groundbreaking was held during March for a new gym at the school in Stephan. Construction is expected to start next month on the gym, which could hold 850 people.

Acting superintendent Silas Blaine says the new gym will mean a return of spirit for the community, which supports its prep sports.

Since the old gym was condemned, Crow Creek has held practices at the Fort Thompson Tribal Hall. And games that would have been played in Crow Creek were played in Chamberlain, Highmore and Lower Brule.

Not being able to hold a true home game hurt student morale, Blaine said. “Prior to our gym being lost, we were district champions five years in a row.

“We lost our pride. No more. We want our district title back.”

Gordon Rosby, regional architect for the Bureau of Indian Affairs, received a star quilt for his role in the effort.

“I’m as anxious to see this thing built as you are,” Rosby said during the groundbreaking ceremony.

Construction could take 10 months, with funding to come from the BIA.

Lester Thompson Jr., school board chairman, said he hopes a more positive spirit returns.

“The school has been through some seriously hard times,” he said. “I’m as optimistic as I can be.”

The year after the old gym was condemned, a three-story dorm caught fire and was deemed uninhabitable.