The former State Treatment and Rehabilitation (STAR) Academy will hit the auction block for the second time Thursday, Jan. 4, at 11 a.m. at the Custer County Courthouse Commissioners Room. The auction will come less than three months after the first attempt to sell the property at auction ended when no hands were raised during the bidding process.
The highly-anticipated public auction of the former STAR Academy’s 173.9 acres and 26 of its buildings ended quickly when S.D. School of Public Lands land agent Mike Cornelison failed to get an opening bid of $2.34 million after three tries. A legal notice sent out by the state shows the starting bid appraised value still set at $2.34 million.
That amount of money is what the state Board of Appraisers placed as a value on the entire former academy grounds.
State officials said publicly prior to the auction that it costs $500,000 annually to maintain the buildings on the property, which Brunner said have an appraised value of $1 million.
Prior to the October auction, some state legislators, including district 30 Reps. Tim Goodwin and Julie Frye-Mueller, questioned the suddeness of the auction, which they said lacked transparency.
They since have called on Gov. Dennis Daugaard to scrap auctioning the property altogether and to consider reopening the academy. They have been joined on that call by Sen. Neal Tapio of Watertown, who has said the state’s juvenile justice reform is not working and a facility to house problem juveniles is needed.