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Rapid City, Sioux Falls Break Bldg Records

Kealey Bultena
Sioux Falls Director of Planning and Building Services Mike Cooper talks about building permits while Ron Bell listens nearby.

South Dakota’s two largest cities are breaking building permit records again. Rapid City is more than $50 million ahead of the previous top year. Sioux Falls is setting a record for the fourth year in a row, and the year isn't over yet.

Right now building permits in Rapid City are worth more than $310 million. Division manager of building inspections Brad Solon says Rapid City hit its previous record in November, so every permit since pushes the landmark higher.

Sioux Falls leaders say they’re in the same position. Building valuation to date is more than $690 million. Chief building services official Ron Bell says Sioux Falls sees large projects that push the record higher each year.

"There’s 62 construction projects that are over $1 million. That’s truly amazing right there," Bell says. "But if you look at that, ten buildings exceed $10 million, and two projects have a construction valuation of more than $20 million."

Bell says he's issuing permits for commercial and residential work. Authorities in both cities say the number of permits they’ve issued are back to typical levels after some spikes when homeowners invested in repairs following hail and ice storms.

Solon says Rapid City has about the same number of housing permits as in past years.

"We have a handful more than last year, and that's really good," Solon says. "You don't want to go back. You want new housing starts, and you want to keep it consistent."

Officials in both Rapid City and Sioux Falls say they still have permits in process for 2016, and they know of major projects valued in millions that are slated for the first quarter of next year.


Kealey Bultena grew up in South Dakota, where her grandparents took advantage of the state’s agriculture at nap time, tricking her into car rides to “go see cows.” Rarely did she stay awake long enough to see the livestock, but now she writes stories about the animals – and the legislature and education and much more. Kealey worked in television for four years while attending the University of South Dakota. She started interning with South Dakota Public Broadcasting in September 2010 and accepted a position with television in 2011. Now Kealey is the radio news producer stationed in Sioux Falls. As a multi-media journalist, Kealey prides herself on the diversity of the stories she tells and the impact her work has on people across the state. Kealey is always searching for new ideas. Let her know of a great story! Find her on Facebook and twitter (@KealeySDPB).