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Students, staff at Hermosa Schools cut ribbon on new building for first day back

Hornets buzzed about the new turf and playground at Hermosa Schools, excited for the ribbon-cutting on the new portion of the building.

“I’m excited for our staff, our teachers and especially the students,” new Principal Frosty Paris said. “They really deserve to have a new school, a place where they can feel safe, a place where they can learn.”

Hermosa Schools, with the Hornet as its mascot, is now into phase two of its renovation. The building, which serves kindergarten through 8th grade students, expanded by 60,000 square feet. Its ribbon cutting was Tuesday, the first day of the new school year.

In stage two, the school will add an additional gymnasium, another locker room area, lobbies, a big band music room, and a bigger library. Custer School District Superintendent Mark Naugle said phase two will be completed around February 2022. Dean Kurtz Construction of Rapid City is completing the work.

“We’ve been studying the need for a long time and we’ve really experienced a great deal of growth in Hermosa,” Naugle said. “This whole area’s really growing with lots of housing developments and things like that, and we expect it to keep growing.”

Naugle has been superintendent for the past eight years. He said he’s seen a 5% growth in Hermosa Schools each year since he started. In 2014, they had 180 students and now have upwards of 240.

Phase one of the project included new classrooms for all grades, a larger playground three times the size of the turf — which is about 150-feet-by-200-feet — learning commons and new lockers.

“We have some empty rooms and we knew we were going to have that, but we built this to grow into and hopefully we will,” Naugle said.

The Custer School Board voted to move forward with the addition in 2019. Hermosa Schools also added three new staff members and Paris.

Paris came to Hermosa Schools from Rapid City where he served as an administrator. He said he liked the small town feel of Hermosa, the tight-knit community and the people.

He started on the job in June and said he’s been learning a lot of new names, and he’s trying to learn all the names of the students as well.

Paris said his first priority is student safety, and his goal this year is to build the culture up.

“To build that school family and build everybody together for one common purpose, and that’s to educate kids and help them academically and emotionally, socially,” he said. “I would say that culture piece is number one.”

— Contact Siandhara Bonnet at siandhara.bonnet@rapidcityjournal.com

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