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South Dakota Developmental Center


The South Dakota Developmental Center was established by the state legislature in 1899. The facility opened in February 1902 as the Northern Hospital for the Insane with 45 people in a three-story building made of Sioux Falls granite. All direct contact staff as well as administrative staff lived there. All legislation concerning establishment, admissions and support indicates that these facilities were not intended to be used by people who had mentall illness, but for those persons who had a developmental disability. In 1913, the name was changed to State School and Home for the Feeble Minded. It became known as The Redfield State Hospital and School in 1951, and in 1989 we took our current name.

The population at SDDC increased rapidly, and by 1918, it had increased to10 times its original number to 471 people. This trend in population increase continued until 1963 when SDDC's population hit its all-time high of 1,199 people. At that time, there were 11 large buildings on campus used for housing. The TB (tuberculosis) Sanatorium at Custer, S.D., was remodeled and reopened as the Custer State Hospital and School. Several of SDDC's people were transferred to Custer to ease the crowding at the Redfield facility. The Custer facility was closed in 1996, and the people were moved into the community.

By 1970, the population at the Redfield facility had dropped to 980, and with the passing of the Developmental Disabilities Act in 1970, which provided for the deinstitutionalization of inappropriately placed persons, the number of people living at SDDC dropped quickly. At present, SDDC serves approximately 145 persons with developmental disabilities.