South Dakota Board of Regents Vice President Kathryn Johnson, who earned her bachelor’s degree in science from Black Hills State University, noted that the time is right for a new science building on the BHSU campus. More than 200 people attended a groundbreaking ceremony held on campus this week. See photos of groundbreaking.

Black Hills State University celebrated the Year of Science by breaking ground for a new science building this week.

South Dakota Board of Regents Vice President Kathryn Johnson, who earned her bachelor’s degree in science from Black Hills State University, noted that the time is right for this new facility on the campus of BHSU.

“Now is the time. This investment will pay rewards over and over though the years. This is not one of those 'build it and they will come' things. We need to build it because they (science students) are already here. It is the right time, the right investment, and the right place,” Johnson said.

The groundbreaking ceremony was held at the site of the new building just west of Jonas Hall. BHSU President Kay Schallenkamp noted that the facility will provide much needed lab and classroom space to accommodate the rapidly growing number of students pursuing science degrees (an increase of over 300 percent in the last decade). Schallenkamp noted that grant funding has grown dramatically as well (from $500,000 to more than $6 million).

Spearfish Mayor Jerry Krambeck, who also spoke at the groundbreaking ceremony, noted that he and his family have strong ties to the University and he feels honored to have witnessed many positive changes on the BHSU campus throughout the years.

“Congratulations to BHSU. I applaud BHSU for their forward thinking and progressive approach. This will be a great facility for the University and the community,” Krambeck said.
Leonard Hopper, a BHSU graduate who is now a dentist in Lead, noted that the building opens a new chapter for BHSU science students.

“I can’t wait to see what happens next. I give a lot of credit for my success to my science professors at BHSU. I also credit the Board of Regents for recognizing the needs of science students,” Hopper said.

Dr. Dean Myers, provost and vice president of Academic Affairs, who emceed the event noted that science plays a pivotal role for the state, region, nation and world.

“The expansion of our science facilities fits perfectly with our long-term planning objectives and our goals to enhance research opportunities for students and increase the number of graduates ready to teach science. With this new construction we are not only transforming the lives of our students but also transforming the campus,” Myers said.

Several BHSU students’ science research posters were displayed. The Science on the Move truck, a mobile science lab that travels throughout the state to provide lab activities for schools, was on site. Spearfish middle school science students who recently won awards at the regional science fair were also recognized for their scientific accomplishments. Sting, the BHSU Yellow Jacket mascot, outfitted with a lab coat, welcomed guests to the groundbreaking festivities.

The 31,000-square foot, two-level science building includes classrooms, five teaching laboratories, and three research laboratories dedicated to faculty and student (undergraduate and graduate) research. The building will also include 10 faculty offices and two conference rooms.

BHSU’s proximity to the developing Sanford Lab and connections to ongoing work there is creating many opportunities for BHSU students and faculty. Having a new science classroom and lab building on campus (just 15 miles from the lab) will provide the opportunity for further collaboration.

View photos of the ceremony.