South Dakota Science & Technology Authority & Black Hills State University, Sanford Underground Research Laboratory LUX Zepplin Experiment & Clean Room

Lead, SD

After 125 years of mining, the Homestake gold mine beneath Lead, South Dakota closed and was donated to the State of South Dakota. The state formed the South Dakota Science and Technology Authority to oversee operations of the mine, and created the Sanford Underground Research
Facility (SURF) as an aegis for a variety of deep earth physics experiments located on the 4850 level, void of nearly all cosmic (background) radiation.

Designed to help 200+ scientists and engineers from 30+ universities and institutions nationwide uncover the secrets of dark matter, this laboratory, referred to as the BHSU Clean Room, houses a modular clean room, including Class 10,000 and Class 1,000 spaces with flexibility for future experimentation.

Due to the location of the lab 4,850 feet below the surface, thorough planning and coordination of infrastructure and equipment sizes was required to ensure that all of the components can physically be installed in the space. The LEO A DALY and Dean Kurtz Construction Design-Build team designed the space to provide an environment that accommodates experimentation by providing air conditioning, dehumidification, and radon mitigation. The utility infrastructure conditions the ancillary space and provides connection points for the modular clean room.

The project also involves the design of an adjacent experiment laboratory space, The Compact Accelerator System for Performing Astrophysical Research (CASPAR), housing a low power accelerator for the purpose of conducting deep earth physics research experiments. The experiments, run by the University of Notre Dame physics department, study low power nuclear reactions commonly found in most stars.


 South Dakota Science & Technology Authority & Black Hills State University

At a glance

  • 4,500 SF
  • 4,850 Feet Below the Surface


  • Deep Earth Physics Laboratory
  • Class 10,000 Clean Room
  • Class 1,000 Clean Room


  • Architectural design
  • Mechanical engineering
  • Electrical engineering
  • Plumbing engineering
  • Commissioning