University Hills Village to add tons of apartment amenities, Kinder Academy

University Hills Village is filling up, with a second apartment building open, another coming and its first commercial tenant.

The newly opened building is the second in the development and includes 126 apartments, said Jarrod Smart, owner of Smart Commercial Construction and a partner in University Hills Village.

“Building Two is filling up, and we just opened it in September,” he said. “We’ve got some really cool floor plans in there. We did a new studio unit that’s been hot. We did 26 of those, and I believe they’re all spoken for.”

University Hills Village is an 80-acre development in northwest Sioux Falls next to University Center. It’s a partnership among Smart, an investor and Danielle Merrow, who handles its real estate. The group plans to build nine apartment buildings in total, housing about 2,000 people on the east half of the property.

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The first 122-unit building opened in 2014.

The third one will start construction in the spring.

“That will have even more studio units,” Smart said. “They’re really nice. They’re not quite set up for roommates but have a more unique floor plan, and they’re a little less expensive.”

The new building will be 98 units but include significantly more amenities. Plans call for an indoor pool, fitness center with a racquetball court and expanded community space with a theater room, craft area and golf simulator.

“And there will be an expanded space with a courtyard behind the building that will connect to the park and eventually have an outdoor swimming pool,” Smart said.

“We’re seeing young professionals over students, for sure, but we have a mix of ages (in the first two buildings). It’s not student housing. It’s definitely more young professional.”

New restaurant to open in northwest Sioux Falls

 Kinder Academy coming

The remaining 40 acres of University Hills are planned for commercial development, and the first tenant has been secured.

Jennifer and Christopher Schuette are preparing to open Kinder Academy in a retail center that will be built north of the original University Hills apartment building.

“It will focus on academic and social development for children from birth to 12 years old,” Jennifer Schuette said. The center will offer daylong care for infants, toddlers and preschoolers, and before- and after-school care for school-age youths.

She’s expecting to open no later than June 1 and is hoping that it’s earlier than that.

Kinder Academy will have room for 90 children in the full program and 30 in the before- and after-school program.

Schuette went to college intending to become a teacher, but she married before she graduated and followed her husband, who was in the military, overseas. While she was in Germany, she worked in a preschool and later helped a colleague start a K-12 private academy, which gave her experience on the business side. After returning to the U.S., she worked at banks in Florida and Sioux Falls. She also spent four years as an education aide for the Sioux Falls School District in kindergarten and first-grade classrooms.

Child-teacher ratios will be smaller than state regulations, Schuette said, because she recognizes the importance of interaction. A neighbor who runs an in-home child care business will be her assistant director, and she plans to hire 12 full-time and four part-time staff members. In addition to classroom teachers, she will have a cook on-site to prepare fresh meals.

Kinder Academy will keep children active, providing them a “mini-elementary school” experience, Schuette said. They will have music, art, gym and library times in addition to other learning and play periods. A fenced-in recreation area will allow them to play outside.

The program will provide one caregiver for every three babies younger than six months and one for every four infants between six months and one year. Depending on their development, 1-year-olds will be placed with the infants or the 2-year-olds, who will be in rooms with a 5-to-1 child-to-caregiver ratio. The preschoolers will be in rooms of 20 children with two educators.

Outside of the school year, Schuette plans to operate more of a “summer camp” program with less-rigorous academic offerings, which will allow her educators to take that time off if they want.

The center will be open from 7 a.m. to 6:30 p.m. weekdays.

“We have been looking into opening a center for five years,” she said, noting that plans were delayed when the couple’s third child was born three years ago. “We’ve been actively preparing for it for a year now.”

Her family lives on the northwest side of Sioux Falls, so they’re aware of the need for child-care services in the area.

“There is one, and it’s always full there,” Schuette said. “There are not a lot of options for people.”

Staff member Rosemary McCoy contributed to this report.

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University Hills Village to add tons of apartment amenities, Kinder Academy

University Hills Village is filling up, with a second apartment building open, another coming and its first commercial tenant.

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