West River school districts get a share of $3 million innovative equipment grants

Belle Fourche school district will buy a semi-tractor and driving simulators with its share of...
Belle Fourche school district will buy a semi-tractor and driving simulators with its share of innovative equipment grants distributed by the state Department of Education.(Source: Walmart / Flickr / CC BY 2.0 via MGN)
Published: Dec. 1, 2022 at 10:58 AM MST
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RAPID CITY, S.D. (KOTA) - Belle Fourche, Meade, and Rapid City are among 17 South Dakota school districts sharing in a $3 million grant to implement emerging technology and modern equipment in district career and technical education.

“The equipment schools purchase with these grants will open students’ eyes to amazing career opportunities in their backyards,” said Secretary of Education Tiffany Sanderson in a news release.

“They are taking their CTE programs to the cutting-edge, helping students master industry standards, learn from employers in their local communities, and develop skills for high-demand, high-wage fields in South Dakota,” the secretary continued.

Belle Fourche receives $250,000. The district will develop a training program to help students earn a commercial driver’s license. Belle will buy truck driving simulators and a semi-tractor for its construction equipment program.

Industry and post-secondary partners for Belle Fourche include Lake Area Technical College, Western Dakota Technical College, SD Department of Transportation, Habeck Trucking, Inc., 3J Towing, Butte County Highway Department

Sturgis Brown High School in the Meade District will use $174,552 to develop a revolutionary hybrid program that combines robotics and manufacturing. While students will learn to operate new technology vehicles and machines (including farmbots) they will also gain knowledge in repair and maintenance of the equipment.

This will be in partnership with the School of Mines and SRAM Corporation.

With its $242,026 grant, Rapid City Area Schools will buy an Anatomage system (anatomy visualization system) for its health science program; partnered with Monument Health. Also on the list are heavy equipment simulators for the architecture and construction program. Industry partners are Scull Construction and Butler Machinery.

While the grants are distributed by the state Department of Education, the funds are from the federal government.