Governor preparing report on COVID-19 effects within South Dakota’s state government

Capitol News Bureau
KELO Gear Up Pierre Capitol Building

PIERRE, S.D. (KELO) — The South Dakota Legislature’s Appropriations Committee has called for Scott Bollinger, the governor’s commissioner of administration, to present a report on state government’s building needs.

Governor Kristi Noem now plans to use that platform to show lawmakers how COVID-19 has affected the physical space and, going forward, the schedules of many in state government’s workforce.

“The governor has instructed Cabinet to evaluate the extent which they can implement remote work for some staff on a permanent basis. They are doing that now, and that work will inform the space study report,” Tony Venhuizen, the governor’s chief of staff, said Wednesday.

“In addition,” he continued, “the state is modifying some state building entrances to improve security and reduce the need for reception staff. Those projects will cost about $1.5 million and will be paid by a combination of federal COVID funds and state M&R funds.”

Noem issued an executive order in March directing many of state government’s employees to work remotely until further notice. In May, she gave state department heads the authority to have employees start returning as part of her ‘back to normal’ plan.

Lawmakers want the space report no later than November 1 as they prepare for the 2021 session.

Numbers provided from the governor’s office Wednesday showed recent spending on state government offices in Pierre:

Foss Building, 523 E. Capitol Avenue, $450,000

Kneip Building, 700 Governors Drive, $510,000

MacKay Building, 800 Governors Drive, $187,000

Dolly-Reed Building, 711 East Wells Avenue, $90,000

Hayes Building, 600 E. Capitol Avenue, $15,000

Health Lab, 615 E. Fourth Street, $215,000

Total construction costs: $1,467,000.

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