FORT PIERRE, S.D. – (DRG News) Planning continues behind the scenes to return the former Fort Pierre train depot to town–from where it has been since the 1960’s–at a ranch near Mud Butte. The depot was in use for several years in Fort Pierre-starting in the early 1900’s. It was moved to the Mud Butte area after it was purchased by rancher Shirley Miller almost 50 years ago. The South Dakota Department of Transportation Commission awarded a $500,000 grant to restore the depot earlier this year. The cost to move and restore the building could add up to about $750,000.
Gary Grittner of Fort Pierre, who leads the “Bring it Home Committee” says preparation work to get the depot back to Fort Pierre this year is going along well. He says architectural and engineering work has been approved by the SD Transportation Department. Now, a company will come in to check the soil under the site where the depot will be placed, to determine the type of foundation that will be constructed. When the committee takes bids for the foundation, Grittner says it will also be asking for bids from companies that move buildings. Excavation will then begin for the foundation and Grittner says the building will likely be back in Fort Pierre before the weather turns cold this year.
The depot will be placed near its original home; on a site just south of Fresh Start along Highway 83. Grittner says other phases of the depot which are about a year away, include securing a company to rebuild the depot’s roof line, redoing inside floors and walls, insulating the building, adding heating and electrical service and adding an ADA required bathroom onto the building. He believes that portion of the project will start late this winter or in the spring of 2013. The final phase of the project will involve landscaping and placing a parking lot near the depot. Grittner projects that the depot could be in use by late next year or by early 2014. Then, he says the Verendrye Museum will take over the building and use it as part of their museum complex.
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