Project File: Reflecting culture

Sisseton Wahpeton College (SWC), Agency Village, S.D., is a Native American two-year college offering business, computer, nursing and vocational programs to the people of the Sisseton-Wahpeton Reservation in Northeast South Dakota. A new addition to its campus will house the vocational-technical education program. The structure represents four Dakota singers surrounding an eight-sided drum that towers 50 feet high.

The building's design is aesthetically pleasing and functional. The large, open center of the interior will be used by the vocational-technical education department to construct single-family homes. The perimeter of the lower and upper floors consists of classrooms and offices for students and support staff. Two of the chambers of the Dakota figures will be used for storage, one for a stairway, and the fourth will house an elevator. In the future, SWC hopes to use the wand of one of the drumsticks to sleeve an antenna to provide wireless Internet access.

The roof of the building is designed to accommodate up to 300 people for open-air events such as banquets and graduations. It also will play a future role in a NASA-funded project on traditional Dakota astronomy.

This project is the collaborative effort of Lakota artist Victor Runnels (Aberdeen, S.D.) and the architect, Herges, Kirchgasler, Geisler and Associates (Aberdeen, S.D.).

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