Gov. Kristi Noem could be just days away from signing off on $6.9 million deal to finalize the sale of the South Dakota School for the Deaf property to a local religious nonprofit, but members of the deaf community are pushing against a move they say lacks transparency and will cause the community to lose its identity.

Residents, parents, alumni and former faculty spoke out against the school’s upcoming move to the former TCF Bank building, 4101 West 38th Street, during a public meeting hosted by the Office of Schools and Public Lands on the campus Monday.

The move, expected to happen within the next six months, comes after the South Dakota Board of Regents agreed in May to sell the current property in the heart of the city after years of trying to find a buyer.

Unlike its current location in the 10th Street corridor, surrounded by mostly residential homes with an underutilized football field and track on site, the new location is more commercialized.

That’s a move that would most likely transform a once-legendary educational service for those who needed extra support into nothing more than a “state office,” community leaders and advocates said. The meeting, which they said seemed like more of a formality, was one of their last attempts to be heard before the deal is done.