BROOKINGS, S.D. – South Dakota State University says construction of its American Indian Student Center has been completed.

The 12,000-square-foot center is located on the north end of the Rotunda Green in the area between Abbott Hall and Harding Hall, according to information provided by the university.

“The new and improved AISC is great for all Indigenous youth because it makes students feel a part of a community, sort of like a home away from home,” said Lars King, a sophomore from Rosebud. “It helps us ease into the transition of college life and will be a place to make new lifelong friendships with others. That is a very important factor because most of us are not away from our communities often.”

The $4.5 million center was built with $4 million coming from private donor funds and $500,000 from school and public lands cash, according to the university.

A view of a side entrance of the American Indian Student Center.
A view of a side entrance of the American Indian Student Center. Image: Courtesy of South Dakota State University

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“The vision for this center would not have been possible without the involvement and generous support of our donors,” said SDSU President Barry Dunn. “The new center is a fulfillment of the pledge made when we announced the Wokini Initiative. It will create opportunities and support for thousands of American Indian students to receive the benefits of higher education, while connecting the rest of our campus to the culture and values of the indigenous people of our state and region.

“Many of our students will experience the center through classes taught in the building and other events designed to explore and learn. The work of the SDSU Foundation and our donors has transformed our university and created a strong pathway for our American Indian students to be successful.

Architectural and engineering services were provided by TSP.

“Native American students need a space to feel welcomed, feel accepted and feel loved and to this space allows that and it’s also the place to go for academic and retention advising, to enjoy cultural programming and connect with other Native students,” said Erica Moore, director of the American Indian Student Center. “This center will be an important place on campus that will encompass all of their needs.

The facility provides office space, meeting rooms, multipurpose rooms, technology resources, student support space and academic support space. Its primary function would be dedicated to student support programming and services.

In addition, GenPro Energy mounted solar panels that equal approximately 7.4 kilowatts of energy. These panels are found on the south portion of the building and were donated by SDSU’s Department of Electrical Engineering and Computer Science.