PIERRE, S.D. (KELO) — State employees have begun removing strips of grass around the South Dakota governor’s mansion for the new security fence.
How will the finished product look?
For now, that is still a government secret.
A spokesman for Governor Kristi Noem wouldn’t say anything more about the project Wednesday.
“(A)s construction moves forward, we will not be commenting on this security matter beyond what we’ve already provided to you,” communications director Ian Fury told KELOLAND News.
There was no hiding that strips of sod had been rolled up on three sides of the house as of mid-day Wednesday. The backyard along Capitol Lake was next.
The Capitol Complex Restoration and Beautification Commission gave its approval 6-1 August 21. The lone “no” vote came from former First Lady Jean Rounds.
After the commission meeting, she told KELOLAND News the panel that raised money for the new mansion didn’t want a fence around it. Her husband, U.S. Senator Mike Rounds, spearheaded the effort to build the house after he was elected governor in 2002.
KELOLAND News has found that state Bureau of Administration Commissioner Scott Bollinger and State Engineer Stacy Watters signed a contract amendment with Stanley Design Group of Rapid City in early July, six weeks before the matter went to the Capitol Complex panel.
The amendment promised to pay $6,500 for the firm to update the fence drawings previously submitted.
Stanley Design Group originally had a May 2019 contract for $51,679.25. The amount was revised down to $34,845.25 in September 2019. The project meanwhile was dropped from the bureau’s list of work. Then it resurfaced this year.
The project carried a $400,000 estimate last year.