A busy time for St. Joseph’s Facilities Crew

Good morning! My name is Sandi and I work with the Facilities

Sandi,  Facilities Administrative Assistant
Sandi, Facilities Administrative Assistant

Crew at St. Joseph’s, helping plan and keep projects on track.

The dog days of summer are flying by! When you’re busy, times flies, and our facilities crew is busy! While the Lakota (Sioux) children are gone for these few short weeks, they are working on numerous projects.

In order to better prepare our students for living on their own after high school graduation, we have remodeled one of our buildings into a High School Transition home where four senior girls will live this fall. Here, they will experience a little more independence than the traditional high school home, but still have houseparents close by for anything that might come up.

The health center has also been remodeled this summer; the increased space will accommodate the increasing number of student and staff medical appointments.

The kitchen in our dining hall kitchen also received an upgrade. In order to meet regulations, new cabinetry was installed, as well as new elevator to replace the old.

Tuck-pointing is the process of repairing mortar joints in brick masonry walls by replacing old mortar with new mortar.
This summer, spots on 10 different buildings received tuck-pointing work.

We love our spot along the Missouri River, but the shifting ground causes issues with buildings that need to be monitored constantly. Our Lady of the Sioux Chapel had some problems due to settling, so repairs were done on doors and ceilings.

Tuck-pointing is the process of repairing mortar joints in brick masonry walls by replacing old mortar with new mortar. This is a continual process on St. Joseph’s campus because of our older brick buildings. This summer, spots on 10 different buildings received this work.

In order for our students and staff to be safe and secure, new lights are replacing old unstable lights along our main street coming into campus, playground, and school parking lot. We are replacing them with LED lights, making them more efficient and requiring less maintenance.

New cameras were put in the school and radon testing was done in buildings throughout campus.

St. Joseph’s students have enjoyed the pool for many, many years. Because of the pool’s age, it was due for some upgrades. The concrete was repaired and a liner installed. A new filtration system was added which greatly reduces the use of chlorine, and making it safer to operate as well as swim in.

Many student homes received new, more efficient appliances this summer to help prevent breakdowns and save on energy costs. All the homes had carpets cleaned, so they are fresh and ready for the students’ arrival on August 9!

All of this was more than enough to keep the Facilities Crew busy, but Mother Nature had other ideas and sent two wind storms our way in June. The storms, one on a Friday and the next on Sunday, gave the crew more than a week’s worth of work just cleaning up.

I’d like to say a big THANK YOU to all of our donors for making all these projects possible and working together to create a beautiful school and campus for the children and families we serve. God bless you for your kindness!


Facilities Administrative Assistant

Summer Projects at St. Joseph’s Indian School

St. Joseph’s Facilities Crew is always busy and summer is no exception! Some projects are big and noticeable – like the new playground. Others are smaller and less

The Lakota children are safe and learning lots thanks to your support!
Thanks to you, the Lakota children have a safe place to learn, play and grow!

interesting… but critical to operations and the safety of the Lakota (Sioux) children nonetheless.

  • As our programs grow, so does our need for new staff and, consequently, office space. The crew reconfigured space in the school library and in the Kateri Building for three new offices this summer.
  • The newly installed windows in the Benedictine Building (where boys and girls in grades 1-3 live) are safe and energy efficient – but every one of the 200+ windows needed to be trimmed out. No small task.
  • While most of the students and teachers are away, carpets get a thorough cleaning.
  • Painting is a never-ending process, both inside and out.
  • Many of our brick buildings are decades old, so tuck-pointing is underway to restore the integrity of the brick.

To keep current with government regulations and innovations in the industry, different members of the Facilities Crew take part in training. Recent classes for crew members covered the proper use of respirators, the benefits of a new scrubber in the Rec Center, and features of a computerized preventive maintenance program.

There are multiple other projects underway:

  • Replacing worn-out carpeting
  • Repairing concrete
  • Caulk, caulk, and more caulk!

The repair and upkeep of St. Joseph’s campus is critical in providing our students with a safe, secure environment.

We couldn’t do it without the generous support of our donors – thank you!

St. Joseph’s Facilities Crew is busy with maintenance and repairs before the Lakota children return to school.
Major summer projects are underway and will be completed before the Lakota children return to St. Joseph’s for the new school year.

An update from St. Joseph’s Facilities Crew

Summer break at St. Joseph’s Indian School is half over, which means St. Joseph’s Facilities Crew is full speed ahead! The facilities crew schedules most of their larger projects during the summer months, when most of the Lakota children are home with their families.  Here are a few of the projects we are working on:

Cement work was done to solve drainage issues on St. Joseph’s campus.
St. Joseph’s Health Center was one of the key areas with drainage issues to be repaired this summer.

ü  Phase II Drainage Project – Those of you who read the blog on a regular basis may remember that Phase I was completed last summer.  There are three key areas on campus where new concrete will be laid to help with some of the drainage issues we have – around the Health Care Center, the school building, and Central Offices.  The work began in mid-June and will be completed by the first part of August.

As we come to the home stretch of the Alumni and Historical Center addition to the Akta Lakota Museum & Cultural Center, the grounds crew has begun landscaping around the building.

ü  They have added some planters with flowers and some large river rocks as an accent to the base of the Medicine Wheel Garden of Healing.  They continue to smooth out areas that were torn apart due to construction and will begin planting grass and more landscaping designs.

If you happen to be on campus, you may notice things are a little dusty around Central Offices!

ü  We are doing some tuck-pointing on the building.  This requires the seams in the brick to be ground out where there is cracking and then refilled with new mortar.  Due to the dust floating in that area I think we should of offered a car wash service for our employees! J

The facilities crew has also started the last phasing of St. Joseph’s home renovations.

ü  The Afra (first through third grade girls) and Raphael (first through third grade boys) Homes are the last to be worked on.  These two homes are located in the Benedictine Building. Demolition work began at the end of the school year. The facilities staff has met with the home coordinators and the plans have been set in place for the home.

Some of you may also remember the school getting new carpet last summer.  Again this year we have carpet projects taking place!

The Medicine Wheel Garden of Healing at the Akta Lakota Museum & Cultural Center is nearly complete.
Large river rock was placed around the outside of the Medicine Wheel Garden of Healing.

ü  Tipi Press Printing and Central Offices received new carpet this summer.  Both buildings are already completed, and the projects took approximately two weeks.

Another major project the crew has been working on is the renovation of our old thrift store building.

ü  This building is now our Personal Care Center! The crew did some basic cosmetic work on the interior and now the building is ready to house some additional office space for St. Joseph’s Indian School. A ribbon cutting with the Chamberlain/Oacoma Area Chamber of Commerce will be held at the end of July.

Pilamayathank you – for helping us take care of our campus so we can provide the Lakota boys and girls a safe place to live and learn!

New thrift store open for business

St. Joseph’s Thrift Store staff has been working with our Facilities Crew since September 2012 on the remodel of a downtown Chamberlain building built in the 1900’s – formerly a grocery store.

St. Joseph’s Indian School purchased the building in the summer of 2012 with the intention of remodeling the building for a new Thrift Store and center to process in-kind donations.

We started moving in to the new building March 1!

We were grateful our move only took a week. The store opened to the public again on March 11, though there is still some exterior work to be finished once the weather warms up.

We first considered the project because of the lack of storage on campus for the donated items our benefactors so generously send. As we move forward, the plan is to have all donated goods delivered to the new In-Kind Processing Center, which is located downtown in the back part of the new Thrift Store.

Donated goods are sorted into many different categories. The main three are:

  • Campus use
  • Thrift Store
  • Mission Run

First, we make sure the needs of the Lakota students are met. They have first pick of all donated clothing and other items.  If we’re not able to use a particular item on campus (such as baby clothes), then it will go to the thrift store or a reservation outreach. After a certain amount of time, items we have not been able to use are packed up and sent to an outreach on an Indian Reservation near us.

As this project comes to an end, the staff here at the Thrift Store and the processing center would like to thank the Facilities Staff for all the hard work and organization they put into this project.  They have helped make this transition an easy one!

St. Joseph’s new Thrift Store is located on Main Street in Chamberlain, South Dakota.
A mock up of what the storefront will look like when it is 100% complete.

Facilities Update

As part of the renovation project, the Summerlee Home will receive some new chairs.
Furniture is ready to take its place in the Summerlee Home!

Our facilities crew is hard at work finishing our remodel projects for the Lakota children at St. Joseph’s Indian School! Here’s an update:

The Summerlee Home is finished other than some minor finishing touches, like hanging bulletin boards and other small jobs. Houseparents are beginning to move some things into the home.  The Summerlee girls are planning on spending their first night in their newly renovated home on February 1.

Now that the Summerlee home is complete, we are able to put more staff on the William Home renovation.

12 Lakota (Sioux) girls in fourth and fifth grades live in the recently remodeled Summerlee Home.
The Summerlee Home now has a snack counter where the girls can visit with their houseparents while they’re preparing dinner.

We just finished taping the sheetrock and will begin the texturing process.  As soon as that’s done, we can start painting. We have also contacted the ceiling installer and he is scheduled to start installing our ceiling grid the first part of February.  The kitchen and bathroom cabinets are under construction in the carpenter’s shop. We hope to have this home completed the first part of April.

The thrift store’s new location is moving along nicely with a completion date in the first part of March.  We have just finished painting the retail section of the store and have moved to the back work and storage areas.  Contractors are in the process of hanging door frames and the ceiling grid will be placed next week.  Once we have our ceiling grids installed, the electricians will be able to start hanging light fixtures.  When the lighting and HVAC processes are complete, we will begin installing carpet and inlay flooring for the retail area, changing rooms, bathrooms, break room, and offices.

Guest Blogger: Facilities Team

These Native American girls can't wait to see their new home!
These four ladies can’t wait to play in their new home!

School is in session and powwow week is here! Every department is hard at work to make sure everything is ready. Here is an update of our largest projects:

Summerlee Home Renovations:

We have about 95% of the exterior work completed, which includes new siding, shingles and windows.  As for the interior of the home, we have completed all the rough-in plumbing and electrical work, and just finished the first coat of taping joints.  When the taping and texturing are finished, we will begin painting.  It is very exciting to see the layout changes that were made in the home come to life.

William Home Renovations:

The demolition process is still underway in the William Home.  We are considering a possible change in the floor plan, which would incorporate the entrance to the lower lever and to the adjacent office area.  Once walls are removed, we will have a better idea of how we will proceed with this possible change.  We enjoy putting our heads together and seeing what will best work for the students and their home and other staff who work in the Benedictine building.

Now, for a few tidbits of some to the day-to-day activities that are taking place around campus:

Grounds department:

The grounds department is checking out all the sprinkler lines and repairing or replacing any bad sprinklers.  They are also removing trees on the west side of Akta Lakota Museum to better accommodate some of the work being done there and at the Summerlee Home.

Carpentry department:

The carpenters are completing a few minor finishing touches to the Stevens and Mathias Homes – our most recently completed renovations. New railings are being added at both entrances of the homes.  They are also installing new carpet in the Human Resources and Facilities Management offices.

Electrical department:

The electricians are in the Human Resource and Facilities Management offices installing new lighting to help brighten up the work space.  They recently finished wiring in the Summerlee Home.

Plumbing department:

The plumber is keeping up with everyday plumbing RQ’s and also helping with the demo work being done at the Thrift Store.

This week, everyone’s main focus will be getting ready for the powwow.

Thanks – Facilities Team

Guest Blogger: Facilities Team

Happy 4th of July!!  I hope everyone had a safe and fun-filled holiday.  With the summer being in full swing, we are also at full speed with all our projects on campus.  This summer seems to have an even busier schedule than we have in the past.

Here is a summary of some of the projects that have been started at St. Joseph’s Indian School:

Drainage Project:

This week the company we’re working with pulled onto campus with their big equipment and began removing the concrete in front of the Benedictine and Kateri Buildings. First, second and third grade students have their homes in the Benedictine Building, while the Kateri Building houses high school girls.

Mathias Remodel:

We are finishing up with the Mathias Remodel.  Right now the guys are working on their punch list to get the final details finished up just in time for the houseparents to arrive on campus in the next couple of weeks. The junior high girls who live in the Mathias Home will return to campus on August 12 for school to begin Monday morning, August 13.

School Painting and Carpeting:

St. Joseph’s Elementary School is getting a little touch up this summer also.  We are re-painting all the classrooms and laying new carpet.

Summerlee and William Remodel:

We have kicked off the next round of home remodels with the Summerlee and William Homes, where our fourth and fifth-grade girls live.  The Summerlee Home has most of the demolition work complete. We have started framing up the new walls, which will reposition some of the rooms to give the houseparents a better view of kids during activities taking place in the home.

The William Home is in the demolition process.  This home will be extended a few feet to give the girls who live there more room in their living and play spaces.

The projects listed above are some of the bigger projects we have going on around campus.  We also have the Akta Lakota Museum & Cultural Center expansion, which will add an alumni center, historical center and storage for the museum’s collection of art and artifacts.

Some of our daily work activities going on around campus include:


  • Irrigation and mowing at Fisher Field, where our junior high students spend time playing after school and on weekends.


  • Plumbing in the Summerlee Home is roughed in and the Mathias Home plumbing completed.  The plumbing that has been inspected has passed both inspections.


  • Crew member Jeff is painting the Giles Home and should be finished this week.


  • Finish wiring the Mathias Home, demo of electrical in Summerlee. Wiring new equipment at Tipi Press Printing and Development rooftop AC unit.


  • Annual vehicle inspections and daily maintenance.  St. Joseph’s fleet has 22 vehicles that insurance company totaled due to a recent hail storm.

Guest blogger: Facilities Team

Summer is approaching fast and St. Joseph’s Indian School’s campus is looking nice and green!  The kids are in their last week of school and we are all busy working to get campus in tip top shape for our Eighth Grade Graduation on May 25.

Our Lady of the Sioux Chapel at St. Joseph's Indian School.
St. Joseph’s Indian School’s Our Lady of the Sioux Chapel

We are in the process of updating our landscaping and planting some colorful flowers to brighten up our campus.  Our grounds crew has fixed up the yard around Our Lady of the Sioux Chapel where the graduation ceremony will take place.  We are also adding a special touch to the front entrance of our campus: a flag pole with some rock landscaping around it.  This will help add that special touch to the entrance and also help in giving family members and visitors directions to our campus.

Our renovation of the Stevens and Mathias Homes is still progress.  All of the major work is complete in the Stevens Home and the students have already started moving some of their home items back to help in getting ready for next year when they return from summer break.  The Mathias Home is, for the most part, completely painted except for some minor touching up.  They have started installing the ceramic tile flooring and have also started hanging the cabinets in the kitchen.

Welcome to St. Joseph's Indian School.
The new flag pole at the entrance of St. Joseph’s Indian School.

The entire facilities crew is busy laying out the schedule over the summer months and setting up future projects that will be taking place on campus here at St. Joseph’s Indian School.  We will be working on doing some updating in the school, start our next home renovations with the Summerlee and William Homes, and many more!

As always, we continue to keep busy doing our best in making the campus feel like home to all the kids that are here over the school year.

Until next time,

Facilities Crew

An update from Facilites

Native American boy smiles big for the camera.
Gavin can't wait to see the new homes!

The Facilities Department at St. Joseph’s Indian School is still busy working on their primary project of renovating the Stevens and Mathias Homes.  The crew continues to make great progress and should be on schedule to complete the project on time.

The Stevens Home is getting closer to completion.  We are currently installing carpet throughout the upstairs bedrooms, and the floor tile is finished on both levels.  We consider the Stevens Home to be about 90% done.

As different areas are completed on the Stevens side of the home, the crew transfers over to the Mathias side.  We are currently finished with texturing the walls and will be starting to paint on the Mathias side next week.

Projects around St. Joseph’s Indian School’s campus

The facilities crew continues to keep busy with their projects around campus.  During Christmas break we were able to employ a few college kids that helped the grounds crew trim up some trees around St. Joseph’s Indian School’s campus.  Who would have ever thought we would be trimming trees in December in South Dakota? That is something that doesn’t happen very often!

The renovation work on the Stevens and Mathias Homes is going smoothly.  Right now our carpenters, electricians and plumbers are working every day to make it possible to meet our completion date.  We are hoping for the homes to be completed this summer and ready to move into at the start of the 2012 – 2013 school year.

The Stevens Home is in the painting stages.  The painting crew has finished the main floor of the Stevens Home and has begun working on the remaining painting, which should be finished by the end of next week.  The carpenters are also in the Stevens Home installing door frames throughout, and floor tile is being laid on the main floor.  The kitchen cabinets and counter tops for both homes arrived last week, so they are on site ready to be installed.  The Mathias Home will be completely sheet rocked this week and the taping will begin.  The duct work is also being completed this week on the Mathias Home.

Even though the renovation is keeping our facilities crews extremely busy, they also have the day-to-day maintenance that occurs around campus.  These gentlemen do a great job managing their work and making sure everything on campus is in tip-top condition.

Until next time!

The Facilities Staff