News Release from the Board of Directors


Lead Area Chamber of Commerce and Sanford Lab Homestake Visitors Center

South Dakota Science and Technology Authority

Lead, South Dakota; Nov 19, 2021: Board of Directors enter negotiations with South Dakota Science and Technology Authority to acquire visitors center property.

The Board of Directors governing Homestake Visitor Center (SLHVC) Inc. and the Lead Area Chamber of Commerce voted unanimously, during their Nov. 18 meeting, to begin discussions with the South Dakota Science and Technology Authority (SDSTA) allowing them acquire the SLHVC in Lead.

The official announcement was made today on the organizations web sites and via email to 241 members and a distribution list of over 700 subscribers.

Talks to divest of the property began when a thorough review of the SLHVC business model made it clear the organization would need to incur additional debt to maintain operations without the benefit of Cares Act relief funds.

“The opportunity to partner with the SDSTA is one we, as a board, simply couldn’t pass up,” Board President Marsha Nichols said. “The Board’s goal is to secure the future of a facility that’s an invaluable asset to Lead and is the gateway to our city. It’s also a win for the Chamber of Commerce and will allow us to re-focus on serving the business community and further develop the Visit Lead tourism arm of the organization.”

“We want what is best for the SLHVC and the community,” said Mike Headley, executive director for the SDSTA. “The SLHVC’s mission is to tell the story of Lead’s rich history and mining heritage along with the world-leading science hosted at SURF. There are so many great events and activities being held at the SLHVC; we want that to continue in support of the community while expanding STEM outreach activities.”

Headley stated that negotiations are ongoing and the SDSTA Board of Directors will need to approve any transfer of ownership of and operations responsibilities for the Visitor Center.

In September the board accepted the resignation of part-time Executive Director Sierra Ward, who announced her desire to pursue other personal and professional interests. The hiring committee will conduct interviews and expect to have the position filled as soon as possible. “We’ve received applications from some highly qualified candidates, and we’re excited to bring on the right person to execute on the chamber’s role of supporting local businesses,” Nichols said. The Chamber of Commerce will continue to operate from an office within the Sanford Lab Homestake Visitor Center.


Media Contacts:

Marsha Nichols | [email protected] | 605.920.1155 | Board President, Lead Area Chamber of Commerce

Constance Walter | [email protected] | 605.722.4025 | Communications Director, SD Science & Technology Authority/SURF

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