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Chancellor school gets new purpose

The old Chancellor Elementary school got a new life in 2023.

The school closed in 2011 and was empty in 2020 when owner Dave Derschan purchased the property. They began working on renovating the building after the city had finished the street project in front of the building.

“They were using the fenced in area to store campers and storage, so I called the number and offered to buy it and they sold it to me. I just saw it as a good place for an event center. When I saw the gym, I just thought it’d be something different than everybody else has,” he said.

Derschan and his wife, Jen, put in all new flooring, repainted the entire building, replaced ceiling tiles, put in a sound system and connected four TVs together to make one big TV on the stage in the gym. They stripped the gym down to the concrete before putting in the new floor. They also put in a new kitchen.

In addition to the gym, they can rent out classrooms for birthday parties, Christmas parties, meetings and more. 

Their first big event at The Chancellor Event Center was last February with a large dart tournament, plus a couple of large banquets and weddings this past fall.

Derschan owns the Chancellor Bar and Humboldt Bar, along with the steakhouse in Geddes and a couple of gas stations. The Chancellor Event Center is the first event center for the couple.

He felt opening an event center in Chancellor would be good for the area.

“I like the location. It’s right between Parker and Lennox. You’re close to Sioux Falls. It’s close to my bar. It all came together in my head,” Derschan said.


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