- Associated Press - Monday, May 26, 2014

HOVEN, S.D. (AP) - Residents of the small northern South Dakota town of Hoven are dealing with the shock of losing their school.

The building was destroyed in a Sunday fire, despite the efforts of firefighters from about 10 area towns. No one was hurt. The cause is still being investigated, Doug Hinkle, the state’s chief deputy fire marshal, told the American News.

The school had stood in the town of about 400 people for more than 70 years. A lot of tears were being shed in the community, Superintendent Peggy Petersen told KELO-TV.

“It’s just been devastating loss for our community,” she said. “Lots of memories in that old building.”

Linda Coyne graduated from the school in 1968, has taught there for 37 years, and even met her husband there. She told the American News that it’s hard to believe the school is gone - along with other things including her classroom posters and books.

“You never, ever dream of something like this,” she said. “And to think that you had just been in there a day or two earlier.”

Seniors graduated on May 18. Classes concluded for other students last Wednesday. The school’s enrollment is about 50 students.

Petersen said school board members likely will meet later this week to talk about the future. The community plans to rally, volunteer firefighter Sam Ruckman told KELO.

“I’ve never lived in a community like this before in my life. They’ll pull together and stay strong,” he said. “It’ll work out.”

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