The University Center at Rapid City has long been considered by many to be a branch campus of Black Hills State University, 45 miles away in Spearfish. Although other state universities offer programs there, BHSU has delivered roughly 90 percent of the classes taught at the campus.
Now, the South Dakota Board of Regents has made it official: the center is to be renamed Black Hills State University-Rapid City, and the center’s administrative and financial authority will be placed with the Spearfish university.
“Students from the Rapid City region have expressed their desire for more options, and we are committed to meeting those needs and expanding our offerings in Rapid City,” BHSU President Tom Jackson, Jr., said. “As the state’s only comprehensive university in western South Dakota, BHSU has a unique role in the Rapid City region.”
Jackson noted that even as BHSU increases its offerings, BHSU-RC will also maintain and enhance collaborative partnerships with other state universities.
Rapid City-based students want a state university education, but they also seek the cost savings of living and working in their home towns, said Gene Bilodeau, executive director of BHSU-RC.
“More students are looking for state university opportunities close to home,” Bilodeau said. “People who are employed in Rapid City are seeking additional higher education options right here so they can continue their employment and not have to commute to work or their classes.”
BHSU first began offering classes in the Rapid City area more than 60 years ago, when classes were taught at Ellsworth Air Force Base. When facility changes prompted a move from the base in 2011, educators developed the University Center at 4300 Cheyenne Blvd., halfway between downtown Rapid City and Ellsworth Air Force Base.