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July 09, 2014 10:02 PM

New Homestake Visitor Center To Mix Mining, Science

Lead, SD

Crews in Lead are demolishing the old Homestake Visitor Center in preparation for a new one, set to be opened next summer.

As executive director of the South Dakota Science & Technology Authority, Mike Headley looks forward to when the old visitor center on the Open Cut mine here in Lead is replaced by the planned $5 million center next year. The Science & Technology Authority staff, caretaker of the Sanford Underground Research Facility in the old Homestake Gold Mine, is working with the Lead Chamber of Commerce on the visitor-center project

There's a lot of work to do between now and the opening of the new Sanford Lab Homestake Visitor center. But Headley says the new facility near downtown Lead will be a powerful mix of the city's rich mining history and its promising scientific future.

"It's a joint effort between the Lead Chamber and the Science & Technology Authority," Headley said. "It's really a chance for us to be able to invest in Lead and be a part of the community, and be able to tell the story of all the mining history and the rich history of Lead and also the science we're doing up at the Sanford Lab."

Sioux Falls philanthropist T. Denny Sanford has already given tens of millions of dollars to help transform the old Homestake Gold Mine into the world-class underground research facility. And he's paying for almost all of the new visitor center. The 8,000-square-foot visitor center will include a 3,000-square-foot exhibition area, meeting space, a retail area and the offices of the Lead Chamber of Commerce. The facility is scheduled for completion next June.

Like the old center, the new one will be built right on the imposing edge of the old Open Cut surface mine, but with more windows and a bigger viewing deck to magnify the impact and the educational benefits.

"We're very fortunate. We are able to construct a new visitor center on the site of the old one, which is right on the edge of the Open cut," Headley said. "And the geology of the area is amazingly interesting. And so we're happy to be able to provide people, really, with kind of a front row seat to see the open cut, as they have in previous years and be able to do it into the future."

It's a future. A future that will mine the depths of science.

 

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