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Impact and History

Economic impact

Through regional spending and job creation—both direct hires at Sanford Lab and jobs generated by large science projects on-site—Sanford Lab has created a ripple of impacts throughout the state.
Economic Impact graphic

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The world-leading research taking place at the Sanford Underground Research Facility (Sanford Lab) gives scientists from a variety of disciplines a wealth of information about the universe, the geology of the region and life underground. But it also has a tremendous economic impact throughout the region and the State of South Dakota.

“The people of South Dakota are seeing an immense return on their investment in this facility,” said Mike Headley, executive director of Sanford Lab. “We are thrilled to be able to support the community and region that surrounds Sanford Lab.”

Through regional spending and job creation—both direct hires at Sanford Lab and jobs generated by large science projects on-site—Sanford Lab has created a ripple of impacts throughout the state.

Map of sd economic impacts by 3 digit zip.

A visual impact

In addition to heavily impacting the local area, Sanford Lab’s effects can be seen across the state. The graphic above details these impact dollars by 3-digit zip code in the State of South Dakota.

Operation of the Sanford Lab supports 180 jobs in South Dakota

Spent in South Dakota

Economic output

Sanford Lab’s overall impact on South Dakota’s economy totals more than $201 million in spending since 2008 and includes a $28.1 million total annual budget.

Jobs at Sanford Lab

Sanford Lab currently employs 130 full-time employees and 13 part-time employees, with a projection to increase the full-time workforce to 150 in the federal Fiscal Year 2019.

Jobs generated by LBNF/DUNE

A 2016 study determined there will be significant economic impacts from the Long-Baseline Neutrino Facility and Deep Underground Neutrino Experiment (LBNF/DUNE) on South Dakota.

The study, commissioned by Fermilab, found that the total economic output in South Dakota could reach $952 million and create approximately 1,800 jobs at the peak of construction operations. 

These impacts are beginning to materialize with a contractual agreement with Kiewit-Alberici Joint Venture (KAJV). The construction management firm is laying the groundwork for the excavation and construction of LBNF. KAJV anticipates hiring as many as 100 people locally for this phase of the project.  For more information about job opportunities with KAJV, visit https://kiewit.com/careers/

LBNF/DUNE has already impacted the economy of Lead with Fermilab’s South Dakota Division permanent office space and KAJV’s long-term lease to open offices in the downtown sector.

DOE Support

Funding from the Department of Energy subsidizes the facility’s operations, further bolstering South Dakota’s economy. The federal budget increased from $22.9 to $24.3 million in Fiscal Year 2019 due to increased emergency response support requirements and increased maintenance support equipment funds.

Operations budget

Of this $24.3 million, SURF will allot $18 million to SURF operations; $4.6 million to LBNF construction support; $1.5 million to LZ experiment support; and $0.2 million to support other experiments. An additional $4 million in Future Fund grants was granted for a new maintenance support facility on site.