A site has been designated for a Black Hills State University Underground Campus at the 4,850-level of the Sanford Underground Research Facility in Lead.
BHSU President Kay Schallenkamp along with staff and students met with Mr. Mike Headley, director of the Sanford Lab, last week to view the site and discuss the opportunities this will create for students and faculty.
"This is a banner day for Black Hills State University and for our students," Schallenkamp said. "The BHSU Underground Campus creates unparalleled opportunities for our students to have unique research experiences. It also recognizes the close relationship that the University has established with the Sanford Lab since it was established in 2007."
"This new laboratory expands our capacity to host a variety of experiments deep underground," Headley said. "It's very exciting for us to be working with BHSU to make it a reality."
The Underground Campus will include a cleanroom that allows students and faculty to conduct a variety of research projects including low-background counting physics experiments. The Campus will also accommodate other experiments such as biology and geology and provide storage for equipment.
The Underground Campus will give BHSU faculty and staff even more opportunities to collaborate with scientists from all over the world and participate in groundbreaking research according to Schallenkamp. When completed the underground space will be the site for research by BHSU undergraduate and graduate students. The site will be used for ongoing physics and biology research as well as include flexible space for future research across a variety of disciplines.
BHSU's location less than 20 miles from the deepest underground lab in the U.S. has created a number of unique experiences for students and faculty.
The Underground Campus is another example of the powerful partnership the University has with the Sanford Lab. The BHSU campus will house the Sanford Science Education Center. This collaboration will enable the University to combine its premier teacher program with cutting-edge research creating new opportunities in teaching math and science. Last summer, the University and Sanford Lab announced a $4.5 million project to convert the Jonas Science building on the BHSU campus into a facility to complement Sanford Lab's education efforts in Lead. The South Dakota Science and Technology Authority (SDSTA) who owns and operates the Sanford Lab is providing $2.5 million to the Jonas redesign, which will be part of the Sanford Science and Education Center. The donation is part of a $70 million gift from philanthropist T. Denny Sanford. The SDSTA is using much of Sanford's gift to convert the former Homestake gold mine into a world-leading underground research laboratory.