Complete Thomas Jefferson High School timeline



The finalized designs for Thomas Jefferson High School depict a number of different areas within the school, including the courtyard (pictured above).

Students of the Sioux Falls School District have had the distinct honor of following the genesis of the new Thomas Jefferson High School and Benjamin Reifel Middle School in their paths to construction. As SFSD gears up for the schools’ 2021 opening, here is a complete JHS timeline.



In Jan. of 2018, Sanford Health donated 35 acres of land in Northwest Sioux Falls near the Sanford Sports Complex to the school district. 

From Jan. to Oct. of 2018, this plot of land, along with others down Maple Street and Marion Rd., were put under consideration by the school to use for the building of JHS. 

In Nov. 2018, the school board announced that they had made a decision about the location of JHS: a 49.43 acre plot of land near Southeast Technical Institute and CTE Academy. A donation of $1 million from one of the companies that the SFSD will work with to construct the school brought the total cost of purchasing the land from $4.3 million to $3.3 million. 


Name and mascot

Followed by the population of Sioux Falls, the name of the new high school has been one of the most contentious aspects of the construction process. In Jan. of 2019, the school naming committee, comprised of “parents, students, community members, staff and school board members” viewed over 100 nominations for the new school names, according to the Sioux Falls schools’ Twitter. They voted to name the new schools Thomas Jefferson High School and Benjamin Reifel Middle School. Following the naming committee’s decision, JHS’ name was heavily debated throughout the community, but the naming committee stood firm on their choices.

In March of 2019, the SFSD announced the mascot and the colors for both JHS and Benjamin Reifel Middle School. JHS’ mascot will be the Cavaliers and their colors Kelly green, gold and black. The Cavaliers are named after the University of Virginia’s mascot, a college that Thomas Jefferson founded. Benjamin Reifel Middle School’s mascot will be the Bison and its colors will be crimson and gold. Their school colors are taken directly from the Rosebud Sioux Tribe’s flag. 



In Jan. of 2019, the initial designs for JHS were also released. Although the unreleased plans for Benjamin Reifel Middle School were modeled after George McGovern Middle School, the plans for JHS were created to be unique from other schools in the district. Rather than traditional hallways, the school will be organized into “suites,” connected by collaboration spaces and a media center. Classrooms will be arranged inside the suites. The colors for the design are inspired by South Dakota scenery, like Mount Rushmore and the Black Hills. Additionally, the fine arts and athletic centers will not be directly connected to the main school, but by a courtyard. They will be placed close to the athletic field for the convenience of the athletic teams and marching band. The projected cost for JHS is $84 million. 

In March of 2019, the designs for JHS were finalized by the SFSD.



In June of 2019, the SFSD held a groundbreaking ceremony to signal the start of construction on JHS, a process which you can follow on the SFSD website through their live video.