IHS puts halt on plans to build clinic off Sioux San campus

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RAPID CITY, S.D. (KEVN TV) -- Tribal leaders' plan to build a new health care clinic on the east side of Rapid City are on life support after the Indian Health Service says any new facility must be built on the Sioux San Hospital campus on the west side of town.

Congress appropriated $117 million for the new clinic in 2016. Plans were drawn up that included the demolition of 26 existing buildings on the campus. Tribal leaders and the Great Plains Tribal Chairmen's Health Board concluded that a better idea was to build the new clinic on donated land near the Western Dakota Tech campus and use the existing Sioux San structures for other purposes. IHS quashed that idea last week but tribal leaders say they haven't given up.

"We're hoping that we can engage our Congressional representatives to hep us," said Jerilyn Church, EO of the Great Plains Tribal Chairmen's Health Board. "We believe (the west Rapid City location) is the better site. We believe that for the future of our children and the future of generations to come. So we're not giving up."

The IHS decision on the location for the new facility does not change tribal plans to take over day to day management of the Sioux San operation on Feb. 17. Sioux San serves members of three area tribes who live in Rapid City.