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Red Cloud Indian School meets $1 million challenge

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PINE RIDGE, S.D. - A milestone in Red Cloud Indian School;s pursuit to build an addition to the existing high school on the Pine Ridge Indian Reservation was met with the successful raising of $1 million to match a challenge gift made by an anonymous Washington, D.C.,-area couple last spring.

''The meeting of this challenge gift - an additional $1 million - is a wonderful testament to the collaboration of people from across this great country, people committed to building a bright future for Lakota children on the Pine Ridge Reservation,'' said the Rev. Peter Klink SJ, president of Red Cloud Indian School, Aug. 20 at the institution's annual mission orientation to kick off the school year.

''Certainly, this addition will be a centerpiece of our combined efforts to improve the lives of all those living on the reservation, inspiring students to go out into the world and make a difference with all they encounter,'' he continued.

''It renews our commitment in keeping our students competitive in fields in which they are already historically underrepresented - like the sciences, as well as ensuring they will have opportunities to develop and celebrate their Lakota identity and the strong and vibrant tradition that is its foundation.''

Construction crews will begin to take over the campus in September, with the official groundbreaking celebration to take place Sept. 29.

''This is a very exciting time we are entering in the history of Red Cloud, made possible by the tremendous support from our community in the Black Hills region, and across the world,'' said Angie Eagle Bull, vice president for finance. ''Everything that drives this building is the securing of a solid education for the Lakota people - and we couldn't be happier that this is going to become a reality for the students, now and for decades to come.''

Rapid City-based contractor Peter Anderson of MAC Construction Company will build the addition and oversee the remodeling of the existing space, and Tammy Eagle Bull, Lakota, and president of Encompass Architects, will design the space.

The new high school wing will feature an eco-friendly, state-of-the-art facility for the science and Lakota studies programs, as well as socializing and office space for students and faculty. The school will be looking into ways to make the addition energy-efficient, including enhancing effective and efficient heating and cooling. The new addition is slated to be ready for the fall 2009 school year.