Life in Lead, SD: what to expect

This shows the (future) appearance of the rock conveyor in Lead, SD, as it crosses U.S. Highway 85 and an adjacent park. Courtesy J.Willhite
Interested citizens at the LBNF/DUNE informational presentation. Photo: Elizabeth Freer

About a hundred members of the community around Lead, SD gathered last Monday evening in the Lead/Deadwood High School auditorium to learn more about LBNF and DUNE, the activities that will be taking place in and around SURF to prepare for and support these projects, and the changes the community will notice as construction ramps up.

The mayor of Lead, Ron Everett, was in attendance, along with other local public representatives.

Josh Willhite, the LBNF Far Site Conventional Facilities project manager, and Mike Headley, executive director of the South Dakota Science and Technology Authority, each gave presentations.

Sanford Lab offers a growing number of school presentations, curriculum units and field trips to K-12 students in SD. Courtesy M.Headley

Headley started with updates on the existing experiments and operations at SURF, as well as the educational outreach programs and the positive economic impacts that South Dakota has enjoyed to date and that are expected in the future as employment and business opportunities open up.

Willhite followed, beginning his presentation with the science, explaining why the DUNE experiment is important and timely, and pointing out the international nature and stature of the DUNE collaboration and its importance on the world stage.

This shows the (future) appearance of the rock conveyor in Lead, SD, as it crosses U.S. Highway 85 and an adjacent park. Courtesy J.Willhite

Willhite and Headley found the audience to be quite engaged and supportive, with people asking questions ranging from the strength of U.S. and international commitments to the levels of dust and noise they should expect over the course of construction. One long-range thinker wondered what will happen to the underground caverns once DUNE is finished.

“Along with answering the community’s questions, I wanted to reinforce the importance of Sanford Lab (SURF) and of LBNF and DUNE on the world stage,” said Willhite. “I want to build pride in the community about what we are doing here.”

A related article appeared March 15 in the Black Hills Pioneer, DUNE mega-science project on schedule and on budget at Sanford Lab. It will run in the Rapid City Journal on Sunday, March 19. (The latter date was originally reported as March 16.)