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STURGIS | With keys to a new $4.6 million Public Works Department complex in hand, superintendent Rick Bush is chomping at the bit to get his staff of nearly 40 employees and the city’s fleet of utility vehicles under one roof.

“We’re ready to move,” said Bush, during a Monday open house at the 38,000-square-foot complex on Dudley Street in north Sturgis. “It’s just a matter of finding time to move in.

“We’d like to get situated in here before the (August motorcycle) rally, but with the recent storm and the damage we had, it’s going to be nip-and-tuck,” he said.

Construction started last year on the complex, with the bulk of funding coming from a U.S. Department of Agriculture Rural Development 40-year loan, along with less than $1 million of auxiliary funding from the city.

The new complex includes garage space for the vehicles used for the department’s functions including street maintenance and repairs, snow removal, stormwater, street cleaning, municipal water, city property maintenance, street lighting, wastewater treatment, city parks, Bear Butte Cemetery and special event preparations.

Garages include a separate space for garbage truck storage and feature heated floors, energy-efficient lighting, an interior and exterior wash bay, fuel station, and covered salt-sand storage.

The existing city public works administrative office building was sold to a private business and moved to south Junction Ave. in Sturgis.

Other buildings used to store and work on vehicles were no longer able to be properly maintained and were torn down.

The new administrative center includes lobby, offices for individual department heads, a staff room with lockers and a conference room.

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Having all of the city public works vehicles, now scattered in temporary facilities around town, all under one roof will be a big benefit to employees and the community," Bush said.

“It’s for the guys who come in at 1 or 2 o’clock in the morning,” said Bush.

“To have a facility like this, where you can move around and see what you’re doing and the equipment’s ready to go, I think it’ll be huge,” he said.

“We can start having better and nicer equipment. We’ve got a place to keep it,” he said.

The city also built two additional buildings, one to store equipment routinely used at soccer fields and the city park, and another for equipment used at the city baseball and softball fields on Ball Park Road.

Building the new Dudley Street complex on the site of the old complex saved the city more than $1 million in land purchase costs for a new site, city manager Daniel Ainslie said.

The city can purchase maintenance materials, including vehicle fluids and lubricants in bulk, also resulting in savings.

“For the public it’s going to be more cost-effective for them because the equipment is going to last longer and the maintenance is going to be greatly reduced,” Ainslie said.

“We’ve got a facility that we can be proud of and will last a long, long time,” he said.

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