Feature Stories

LifeScape launches Community Appeals Campaign

A new campus for LifeScape will enhance its mission to empower individuals with developmental delays, behavioral care and complex medical care needs to live their best life.

To be located west of I-29 on West 34th Street North and North Career Avenue, the new facility will continue to keep the best care for children near their natural support system of parents, grandparents and siblings. Once completed, the new facility will bring access to the latest technology and best practices in pediatric rehabilitation and behavioral care to families in our community.

A $1.8 million Greater Sioux Falls Chamber of Commerce Community Appeals campaign will take place April 1-July 31, 2024. It will support the construction of a state-of-the-art playground for children with challenging behaviors and complex medical needs. The Chamber encourages its members to support this effort when a financial request is made.

Jason Herrboldt, First Bank & Trust; Jay Soukup, Stifel; and Dave Rozenboom, First PREMIER Bank serve as co-chairs for the Community Appeals campaign. Herrboldt believes that if you take the time to tour the facility and speak to team members, you will walk away a different person. “I knew immediately, after my tour, that we needed to do whatever it took to make this campaign successful,” he said.

LifeScape’s client base is significant, comprising 4,700 children and adults from nearly every county in South Dakota as well as from Montana, North Dakota, Minnesota, Wyoming, Nebraska and Iowa. Most of the children and adults who are supported typically have more than three diagnoses including autism, cerebral palsy, spina bifida, and other disorders, in addition to those who are recovering from accidents, surgery or illness.

Journey of Hope

Community Appeals Campaign for LifeScape

$1.8 million April 1-July 31

To campaign donor Dave Billion, this campaign and the LifeScape mission is personal as his brother Danny was born with cerebral palsy in 1946 and was one of the organization’s first students. He has felt a double responsibility in life because others had their talents taken away out of no fault of their own.

“You work to help other people; that was a lesson that was learned by having Danny as a brother,” Billion said. “So, you need to use the gifts God has given you.”

Established in 2014, LifeScape came to be through the affiliation of Children’s Care Hospital & School and South Dakota Achieve. It has two outpatient centers in Sioux Falls and one in Rapid City, with therapists traveling across the state providing services to children in their homes, daycares and schools. It also has the children’s residential hospital and school and adult services provided in Sioux Falls.

LifeScape is South Dakota’s only pediatric rehabilitation hospital complementing the services provided by Sanford Health, Avera Health and other regional hospitals. LifeScape is the only children’s residential specialty school in South Dakota able to meet the medical, behavioral and education needs of children in one setting.

The historical evolution of LifeScape is profound. Children’s Care Hospital & School opened in 1952 as the private, non-profit “Crippled Children’s Hospital & School” to provide rehabilitation and education to children recovering from polio. South Dakota Achieve was established in 1958 when families sought services as an alternative to institutionalizing their children who had intellectual disabilities.

The current LifeScape Children’s Services facility, located on 26th Street near the VA Hospital, was built in 1952 and modified over the years to accommodate the changing care needs of children in the region. In 2018, after an assessment of current facilities, the board of directors determined a replacement of the 26th street children’s facility was needed.

The overall goal for LifeScape’s “Journey of Hope” campaign is $88.5 million. As of the start of the Chamber Appeals campaign, LifeScape has secured over $80 million in commitments.

Due to construction costs, the project has been broken into two phases. Phase 1 is a 185,000 square foot facility encompassing the 18-bed pediatric specialty hospital, inpatient and intensive outpatient therapy. The specialty school will be expanded by 25% over the current space to accommodate growth, an expansion of the children’s residential area and some area for administration.

The inclusive, safe and sensory-rich playground to be supported by Community Appeals campaign donations is projected to be heavily utilized. The adaptive nature of this type of equipment encourages children to try new activities, instills confidence and enhances development of social skills.

Phase 2 will include an indoor pool, gymnasium, four family visitation rooms and the remaining administration.

LifeScape has spent several years collaborating with similar facilities around the country, gaining knowledge from their experiences building new facilities and providing similar services. Takeaways from these discussions have led to key design implementations to allow for maximum light and protection for children as they play.

This includes hurricane-proof glass and reinforced sheetrock within behavioral care areas and utilization of the latest technologies for monitoring and aiding healing in hospital and therapy areas. Instead of high fencing around play areas, the playground will be enclosed by the building and located in the center of the facility. Every space is designed with learning and healing in mind.

Journey of Hope Campaign co-chair Dan Kirby believes it is time for today’s citizens to pull together and continue the organization’s 72-year legacy.

“The current facility has been outdated and undersized for about a third of my life,” Kirby said. “Sioux Falls has done a great job meeting the needs of kids in every other area – educating and taking care of health needs – but kids with special needs are overdue for some attention and a new facility.”