Ministry Center buys School for the Deaf campus, plans to create variety of services

Sioux Falls, S.D. - In a little less than a year, Sioux Falls could see a campus that offers a variety of services for those in the community.

On Wednesday, the Sioux Falls Ministry Center announced they bought the School for the Deaf campus.

They plan on turning it into a place for lower income residents and those impacted by poverty.

“I look at this campus as being an investment in the next generations,” Sioux Falls Mayor Paul TenHaken said. “A lot of kids, a lot of families are going to be served there.”

The Sioux Falls Ministry Center bought the land for $6.9 million and plans to turn it into the “Empower Campus”.

“When you have a multi-acre site like this, you just really lick your chops at the opportunity and say wow think of what we can do here to invest in the people of our city and this neighborhood,” TenHaken said.

The ministry center is preparing for at least eight or nine organizations to move into the space. One of those, may be the Boys and Girls Clubs of the Sioux Empire.

“Being a part of something larger, being able to talk with other business leaders and community members about what’s going to make our community really thrive, is very exciting to me,” Boys and Girls Clubs of the Sioux Empire CEO Rebecca Wimmer said.

They’re also looking at developing soccer fields where the track now sits.

The rest of the three and a half acres are dream space.

“Talking to the nonprofit leaders,” Sioux Falls Ministry Center Board of Directors chair Rich Merkouris said. “Talking to the government leaders. Talking to city leaders about hey what does our community need? What’s best here on this campus?”

The Ministry Center previously tried to buy the campus back in December and January, but ran out of time to make it happen.

The second time around, Sioux Falls Mayor Paul TenHaken and South Dakota Governor Kristi Noem helped make it happen.

“What I think the project needed was to make sure the governor was on the same page, the city was on the same page, that these ministries were on the same page and once we got together and sat down and started talking about it, we realized that all of our visions were aligned,” TenHaken said.

“There’s not one entity that can help one person completely move out of poverty,” Merkouris said. “We need multiple entities working together to help that person move forward.”

Merkouris said they hope to start construction in the next four months and move in sometime in the next 6 to 8 months.

Merkouris said they will likely spend between $1.5 and $2 million on those renovations.