By Tim R Goodwin
District 30 Rep. (R)
October 24, 2017
Star Academy is still for sale! As all probably know by now, Star Academy went on the auction block Thursday, October 19, and received no bids. None. Nada. Zero. Governor Daugaard’s Chief of Staff, Tony VanHuisen, said, “Big state run institutions are not an efficient way to address problems like methamphetamine addiction”. Mr. VanHuisen went on to say, “and it is unlikely that the state could find enough qualified staff to operate that type of facility in the Custer area”.
Are you kidding me? When Star Academy closed in April 2016, they had 80 full time personnel. At no time during its 20-year run did they run out of qualified staff to run the facility.
Here’s my take:
- Star Academy was appraised for $2.34 million. That means the state has to get a bid for that, or a higher amount, to sell it.
- To build a new facility would cost approximately 50 million dollars.
- South Dakota has a huge methamphetamine problem and still has a juvenile delinquency problem.
So why not refocus Star Academy to a methamphetamine rehabilitation center and start up the juvenile delinquency program again? It’s my view that we should imprison the drug pushers/kingpins but send the drug users/addicts to treatment, and not the county jail or state penitentiary. Another intangible is the healing quality of the Black Hills that Star Academy exemplifies. So, let’s not sell it at a bargain price, but re-open the facility. There, I said it!
If you agree with me, let’s start an all-out effort to let Governor Daugaard know. Tell him it was a mistake to close it in the first place, and to reconsider what a poor decision it was. We all make mistakes. It is part of life. Governor Daugaard’s number is 605-773-3212. Please Gov. Daugaard reconsider re-opening Star Academy.
Thank you again for giving me the privilege of representing you as your District 30 representative in Pierre.