Money for National Guard readiness center in Sioux Falls clears another key legislative panel

Capitol News Bureau

PIERRE, S.D. (KELO) — Lawmakers who help oversee state government’s budget gave their endorsement Tuesday for a new $20 million readiness center the South Dakota National Guard has the opportunity to have built at Sioux Falls ahead of schedule.

South Dakota Adjutant General Jeff Marlette told the Senate Appropriations Committee the project was planned for 2024 but there appears to be federal funding available for it in 2022. State government would pay $5 million and the federal government $15 million under HB 1018.

The legislation originally called for $1.5 million of federal authority and $500,000 of state funds for design and construction, but the House Military and Veterans Committee put in full amounts.

The full Senate could debate as early as Wednesday afternoon the center and the expansion of a SDNG cold-storage unit that’s also at Sioux Falls. Both would be final approval by state lawmakers.

Marlette said South Dakota National Guard has 23 readiness centers across the state and 14 are at least 40 years old. “So anytime we get the opportunity to move on a readiness center, we always have them ready to go, and that’s what this is,” he said.

“South Dakota’s been selected to be the first multiple-rocket launch system battalion in the nation to receive the new launchers, and with that the force structure is changing. Currently we have two batteries, companies, with six launchers each. The new table for this new unit is three batteries of nine launchers each,” he explained.

“So it’s a considerable investment in South Dakota, confidence in South Dakota, in our South Dakota National Guard. and so this facility would lean forward to be able to make room in the Sioux Falls area for that new firing battery and to build a new readiness center,” he continued.

The new center is planned near a SDNG facility about two miles east of Joe Foss Field on the city’s north side. But that might change.

“We’re working closely with the city of Sioux Falls. Our current 30 acres is a piece the city of Sioux Falls is very interested in on Benson Road,” Marlette said. “There’s another piece of land very near it that they are asking us if we’d consider for our use swapping and it could actually give us a little bit more land for a training area, so it’s good for us.”

The Senate panel also approved HB 1017 that calls for an additional $750,000 of federal fund authority to expand South Dakota National Guard’s cold-storage unit at Sioux Falls to accommodate two other increases in force there.

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