Oglala Lakota College Building New Facilities

May 15th, 1998 | By | Category: 9-4: Pre- K-12 Education, Tribal College News

For years, Oglala Lakota College (OLC) students have studied in rundown government surplus buildings or in basement classrooms rented from churches. Now, money from a private foundation is helping put them in new buildings wired for distance learning, computers, and the Internet. The Michigan-based Kresge Foundation has awarded a $650,000 challenge grant to the college.

OLC has raised more than $1.8 million of the $3.8 million it needs to build six new centers at sites across the Pine Ridge Indian Reservation in South Dakota, says Thomas Shortbull, Oglala Lakota College president. “It’s a great honor to us to have the Kresge Foundation involved,” says Shortbull.

Construction began last summer on centers in the communities of Oglala and Manderson, and a new center in Wanblee was completed in February. Plans call for starting work on classrooms in Allen and Martin later in the year. The college also wants to build a new center in Rapid City to replace existing classrooms there.

Once all the centers are built, they will be linked to the main library at Kyle through distance learning satellites and computers, says Shortbull. The college also will be able to join in classes offered at other tribal colleges or at state universities, he added.

Shortbull says a good share of the money the college must raise will come from donors who have supported the school in the past. However, a campaign will also tap new funding sources. “You hear a lot about fund-raising campaigns run by people who want to help the Indian, but this campaign is about Indian people who will be able to help themselves through obtaining a college degree,” he says.

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