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Badlands Hall at Western Dakota Technical Institute

The new Badlands Hall building at Western Dakota Technical Institute.

A silver canteen-style time capsule was set into the ground on the outdoor courtyard at Western Dakota Tech on Monday morning to celebrate the school's 50th anniversary.

Administrators just hope whoever opens the time-capsule in 2068 will be able to use a jump drive.

"It's got videos of faculty and staff and students saying hello," WDT President Ann Bolman said. "You never know what technology there'll be in the future."

As the technical college in Rapid City celebrates its 50th anniversary with a week of events, culminating in a parking-lot bash on Friday, the items included in the time capsule range from a copy of the Journal, a WDT pop socket (stuck by students on the backs of smartphones), a key chain and even a copy of the school's former commercial jingle.

"We had a very prestigious committee select the items," Bolman said. 

And it's all to commemorate a school anniversary and jump-start a "spirit week."

The technical college, specializing in programs in manufacturing, transportation technologies and computers and with an enrollment of roughly 1,000 students, has undergone transitions since opening in 1968 with only two offerings: auto body and welding. No longer are there campuses in Piedmont, Igloo, or Ft. Meade. And the original name — Black Hills Area Vocational Technical School — is also long gone. Today's campus east of Rapid City on Highway 44 views the rising Black Hills and houses over 30 academic programs, from plumbing technology to practical nursing. Classes began Aug. 20, but students and community members are invited this week to celebrate the 50th milestone.

On Tuesday, there'll be pie throwing at 11 a.m. to raise funds for Hunger Action Month. On Wednesday, there'll be tie-dying of T-shirts from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. in the courtyard. On Thursday, a 50th anniversary photograph (wearing tie-dyed T-shirts) will be taken at noon. Finally, on Friday, there'll be outdoor games, inflatables, and water balloons from 4 to 6 p.m. in the parking lot. A free concert by Brandon Jones Band will be open to public from 6 to 9 p.m.

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Contact Christopher Vondracek at Christopher.Vondracek@rapidcityjournal.com.

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Education reporter