Leola High School Added to Places in Peril List
The Leola High School has been added to Preserve South Dakota’s Places in Peril list. The building, which currently serves as the community’s high school, was completed in 1931 and is one of the few older brick buildings in Leola. The two-story school is in good condition but is scheduled to be demolished this summer to allow construction of a new building.
Older schools are often demolished for reasons including accessibility or maintenance issues. However, many older buildings can be made safe and accessible through creative rehabilitation work, which will allow continued use as a school or provide for a new use. Rehabilitation work often has a comparable cost to demolition and new construction. Additionally, the preservation of historic buildings is better for the environment as it keeps demolition debris out of landfills, and historic buildings nurture a town’s unique sense of place.
A number of older schools in South Dakota have been successfully rehabilitated for continued use as schools or reused for new purposes once their lives as school buildings have ended. The former Washington High School in Sioux Falls is now the Washington Pavilion of Arts and Science; the former Lead Central School and the former Yankton High School have been reused as housing; and the former Aberdeen Central High School is now the Aberdeen Recreation and Cultural Center.
The Places in Peril list was created by Preserve South Dakota to raise awareness for endangered historic properties around the state. Awareness typically helps connect funds, investors, and volunteers with the property in hopes it may be saved. Since 1998, more than 50 properties have been added to the Places in Peril list. Some, like the Railroad Roundhouse in Lead and the School for the Blind in Gary, have since been rehabilitated and are once again contributing to their communities’ economic development and sense of place.
For more information on our Places in Peril and how you can raise your voice in support of the Leola High School, check out the Places in Peril section of our website.