RAPID CITY, S.D. (KELO) — A shooting sports complex the South Dakota Game, Fish and Parks Department plans to build near Rapid City will go out for another round of bids.

That’s according to John Kanta, a state Division of Wildlife official who’s leading the project. He told KELOLAND News that will happen in the next couple of months.

“We did put the project out for bid in late February. We only received one bid, and we did reject that bid, and so we’re going to put the project back out, hoping for a better path forward and a more favorable bid,” Kanta said.

The project’s estimated cost has grown substantially, from $10 million to $12 million to now $20 million.

“The bid was just over nineteen million dollars, and that was within the ballpark of what the architectural engineers had estimated the cost to be,” he explained. “We just feel that, one, we would like to see more bids in a more competitive bidding process, and we believe we can put the bid back out in a way that should allow us to get to get a more favorable bid.”

That lone bid that GFP received for what has been described as “a world-class facility” came from Scull Construction Service of Rapid City

The site, along Elk Vale Road in Meade County, was identified by Jim Scull, the former head of the business who still owns a minority share. He brought the property’s private owner and the South Dakota Game, Fish and Parks Foundation together. The foundation bought the ground and re-sold it to the Game, Fish and Parks Department for $900,000.

GFP officials asked the South Dakota Legislature during the 2022 session for $2.5 million of state general funds and $2.5 million of other fund authority for the range. Because it was an appropriation, the legislation needed 47 ayes to get through the 70-seat state House of Representatives; it received only 39.

Asked why GFP went ahead with the project after state lawmakers didn’t sufficiently support it, Kanta said, “Our goal is to provide a shooting-sports complex opportunity in western South Dakota that’ll serve South Dakota and our visitors, and so, that’s been the goal from the get-go, and we continue to have that goal, and are looking forward to providing that opportunity.”

He said the design of the range had changed “quite a bit” since GFP started the project. The Meade County Commission recently approved a shooting-range ordinance. Some of the changes reflect the county commission’s requirements. Landowners in the area remain upset.

“We’ve offered to work with surrounding landowners, and that offer is still on the table. We have sat down with a number of those folks and had some great conversations and listened to their concerns, and we’re doing our very best to address all of those concerns. And with the Meade County Commission, we do continue to work very closely with them, keep them updated on the project, and again, listen to any concerns they may have and address those,” Kanta said.

He said GFP is committed to using federal funds “in part” and the department will look to gifts. “And we have had a lot of interest in folks stepping up and providing donations. To date we’ve raised just over three million dollars in donations,” Kanta said.