Construction begins at Brookings airport

Jarad Miles

Jarad Miles

An old car wash sign reaches above the roadside trees and stands as a stranger in the midst of a growing 16,000-square-foot office building.

The building stretches between the Barrel Drive-In and Sound Sensations along Eighth Street South’s downward slope as it darts eastward from Main Street.

Countless tire marks blanket the ground between the freshly poured cement sidewalks at the building’s front, to the curb, and gutter near the road. Three peaks line the rooftop above its entrances and a large awning shoots out above its east- side window.

Last May, developer Dean Gulbranson filed a lawsuit against the city when city officials rejected his request for a building permit to construct the new office building.

He was told that the site was part of the Brookings Municipal Airport’s runway protection zone. The protection zone is not supposed to include any land used as residences or places of public assembly.

City officials had issued several permits in the last 15 years because they were unaware of the Federal Aviation Adminstration regulations. A court decision ruled that the city was wrong and

Gulbranson received a permit to start constructing the office building.

Gulbranson said construction of the building started on Sept. 1 and should be ready for occupancy by Jan. 1.

Daren Construction of Sioux Falls is erecting the building, which will contain seven offices.

“”The offices will be occupied by an attorney, a certified public accountant, a money management company, an insurance agency, a bank and an office for my own business,”said Gulbranson. He said the vacant office will be filled soon.

“A recommendation is to be sent to the FAA by Nov. 1 to either move the airport altogether, change the runway’s direction or shorten its runway,” said Gulbranson The Federal Aviation Administration is primarily responsible for the advancement, safety and regulation of civil aviation.

Gulbranson has received a sum of money from the city as compensation for money he lost during the three month court proceedings last summer.