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Mitchell's $3.2 million DOT facility expansion project moving along

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Shown here is the west side of the new addition of the Department of Transportation's Mitchell facility. (Sam Fosness / Republic)

A long-awaited $3.2 million face-lift and expansion project for the South Dakota Department of Transportation's Mitchell facility is well underway, adding much needed space.

As construction crews continue making steady progress before winter weather hits, the new DOT maintenance shop will provide additional space at the Mitchell facility, allowing the 1300 S. Ohlman St. building to store a wider variety of road construction equipment and inventory than it has in the past.

Craig Smith, Department of Transportation project engineer, said the $3.2 million expansion and remodeling project comes roughly two years after the desired start date.

“The plans for expansion here at the Mitchell location have been in the works for a while, but it was delayed to budgeting matters,” Smith said, noting the Mitchell facility was able to get the project approved and budgeted for this year.

The existing maintenance and equipment shop that neighbors the new 15,369 square foot building is undergoing major remodeling, which Smith said will provide additional space for equipment parts and inventory.

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With the volume of road construction equipment the facility stores and maintains -- including snowplows, trucks, tractors and road striping vehicles -- Smith said it’s vital to have adequate space given the potential times of need during extreme weather events, such as blizzards.

“We need more room and some updating to be done on the relatively old existing facility, and once that’s done we’ll begin moving our equipment repair operations into the new building,” Smith said in an interview with The Daily Republic.

Due to the relatively shorter height of the existing 14,241-square-foot maintenance and equipment shop, Smith said the old building limited the ability to store large cranes and taller equipment that the DOT utilizes for road construction projects.

“The old building just doesn’t have the height to store overhead cranes and things that we need in our shop now,” he said.

In addition, the new building will include a few additional office spaces for highway and road striping crew members.

According to Kevin Feldhaus, project manager for WS Construction of Sioux Falls, crews began working on the building immediately after the late April blizzard.

Considering the wet spring that stretched into early summer, Feldhaus said the project’s timeline fell behind roughly an entire month. The estimated year-long project is slated to wrap up by April of 2020, he said.

“We’re just trying to make up wherever we can, but it’s just been one of those years where we can’t stay dry much,” Feldhaus said Monday.

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The building expansion and remodeling project is fully funded through state money, according to Smith.

Related Topics: TRAFFIC AND CONSTRUCTION
Sam Fosness joined the Mitchell Republic in May 2018. He was raised in Mitchell, S.D., and graduated from Mitchell High School. He continued his education at the University of South Dakota in Vermillion, where he graduated in 2020 with a bachelor’s degree in journalism and a minor in English. During his time in college, Fosness worked as a news and sports reporter for The Volante newspaper.
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