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South Dakota students redesign Deadwood's vacant spaces

DEADWOOD (AP) — South Dakota State University architecture graduate students have studied vacant spaces in nine buildings on Deadwood's Historic Main Street as part of an effort to identify economic initiatives for the city.

The students scanned empty second-floor spaces on Main Street, recorded existing conditions, produced measured drawings and came up with ideas on how to convert the spaces. They presented concepts and designs to local business owners on March 15, which included a traveler's hostel, art gallery, a museum and loft apartments.

The project was completed in partnership with the Main Street Initiative Economic Initiatives Project, the Black Hills Pioneer reported.

Deadwood Historic Preservation Officer Kevin Kuchenbecker said the partnership created an accurate recordation of existing buildings as well as measured drawings that are accurate to one-eighth of an inch. He estimated that the design services were worth more than $100,000.

"It is Deadwood's goal to bring underutilized and vacant spaces forward, putting them back into productivity as apartments and museums, etcetera," said Kuchenbecker. "It's much more efficient for government to partner in redevelopment of existing spaces than it is to create new spaces."

Student Iman Ebadi Paskiabi said it was a great experience to work on a "real world project" with "real world technology," since most school studio projects are abstract.

Kuchenbecker said the next step will be to meet individually with property owners to determine their interest level on the project.

"It's a real opportunity for the owners of these buildings to see their space and then envision what they could be doing with their space," said Kuchenbecker. "It's spurring on housing, economic development, rehabilitation, and that's our whole focus."

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