Skip to main content

Dairy Plant Construction

The SDSU dairy plant is an integral component of the dairy programs for delivering teaching and research programs. Through partnerships with the Jackrabbit Dairy Council that includes dairy producers, processors, allied industry, alumni and friends, the plant is undergoing an exciting development through the renovation of the existing plant and building of a state-of-the-art facility. This $9 million renovation project will add 10,850 square feet of additional space onto the east of the existing plant to create a modernized plant totaling 17,900 square feet. The remodeling, modernization and additions will turn the 50-year-old plant into a modern dairy processing research and education plant. This page provides an update of the construction activities.


Home of The SDSU Dairy Processing Plant poster


Oct. 21, 2011

Contributors to the Davis Dairy Plant include:

$2 million and more

  • Davisco Foods International Inc.


  • American Dairy Association of South Dakota
  • Nef Family Foundation
  • Valley Queen Cheese Factory


  • Agropur inc.
  • bel brands USA
  • Ecolab
  • Filtration Engineering Co. Inc.
  • GEA Westfalia Separator Division
  • Glanbia Foods
  • Gonzenbach family of Milbank, S.D.
  • Jerry and Jolene Lohr of the San Jose, California, area and Garretson, South Dakota
  • Midwest Ag Supplements
  • SA Education Foundation
  • Saputo Cheese
  • Tetra Pak
  • Wells Dairy Inc.


  • Abbott Laboratories Foundation
  • American Dairy Association of the Midwest – Iowa Division
  • SDSU College of Agriculture and Biological Sciences
  • Daryl and Mary Ann Boddicker of Gurnee, Illinois
  • Dahmes Stainless Inc.
  • Hilmar Cheese Company Inc.
  • SPX Corporation
  • South Dakota Governor’s Office of Economic Development
  • David A. and Marilyn M. Thompson of Barrington, Illinois


  • CFR
  • DR Tech Inc.
  • Emery W. and Mary Ellen Bartle
  • Fristam Pumps
  • Land O’Lakes Foundation
  • Werner Electric Supply
  • Wisconsin Cheese Makers Association


  • AGC Heat Transfer Inc.
  • Associated Milk Producers Inc.
  • Cass-Clay
  • Chr. Hansen, Inc.
  • First District Association
  • Kemps LLC
  • Kraft Foods Foundation
  • Neil and Rachel Kucker of Eagan, Minn.
  • Milk Specialties Global
  • Schock Family Foundation
  • South Dakota Dairy Association
  • Larry Tidemann and Gail Dobbs Tidemann of Brookings
  • Walt and Yvonne Wosje of Brookings


  • Sioux Valley Dairy Herd Improvement Association
  • Bruce Unterbrunner of Abrams, Wisc.


  • Bob and Becky Baer
  • Brian and Deborah Bonebright
  • Dairy Farmers of America
  • Gertrude Hawk Ingredients
  • Scott Halverson
  • Ann Hardegger
  • Gregory Holtquist
  • Isanti Foods, LLC
  • Keough Ledman Associations, Inc.
  • Eugene and Dolores Metzger
  • Keith Murfield
  • Rochester Cheese
  • Roger and Kay Scheibe
  • Vernon and Cathy Voelzke


Sign on Dairy Barn that reads "Holy Cow! Thanks to the Jackrabbit Dairy Council and all our generous donors!"


May 10, 2011


Ice cream making in the new dairy plant.

April 25, 2011

The new Dairy Bar has opened this week and the processing plant addition is scheduled to start limited production during the first week of May.  Demolition started in the existing portion of the Processing Plant on April 12. In the next few weeks the contractor will be focusing on finishing up outside landscaping and exterior concrete work as weather permits. The contractor will also be finishing up punch list items in the processing plant addition and then moving over to the renovation to start rough ins.

April 19, 2011


Equipment installation in the fluid milk processing room.

March 29, 2011


Equipment installation continues.

March 9, 2011


Currently at the Dairy Micro Processing Plant Addition the contractor is working on:

  • Electrical finish work
  • Tile work in the hallways, processing room walls, and dairy bar
  • Finishing painting in the dairy bar area
  • Pipe insulation
  • Installation of cabinets, doors, toilet accessories, and shelving.

Anticipated work in the next few weeks include:

  • Installation of vinyl wall coverings in the dairy bar
  • Installation of freezer doors and closing in tops of freezer in the cooler
  • Installation of trim and fire extinguisher cabinets
  • Glazing
  • Processing equipment work
  • Installation of solid surfacing.

Construction continues to progress well with the project. Weather permitting the contractor is still on schedule for having the New Dairy Bar turned over to SDSU for operation on April 8th.

Jan. 27, 2011


Currently at the Dairy Micro Processing Plant Additions the contractor is working on:

  • Continuing to install the dairy tile
  • Continuing with electrical, plumbing, and HVAC rough ins
  • Working on Fire Sprinkler Rough ins
  • Pipe insulation install
  • Process area rough ins
  • Finishing up taping of sheetrock in the Dairy Bar Work to be starting in the near future consists of:
  • Painting Dairy Bar area
  • Working on measurements for the Cambria/solid surfacing finishes in the Dairy Bar
  • Working on canopy panels and metal trim
  • Installation of wall tile
  • Continue with electrical, plumbing and HVAC rough ins.  

Overall, good progress is being made on the project. There is an impressive amount of process piping and conduit installed in the plant hallways. The Dairy Bar is starting to come together and it appears we are still on schedule to move into the new Dairy Bar the beginning of April.

Dec. 30, 2010 



Currently at the Dairy Micro Processing Plant Additions the contractor is working on:

  • Installing the steel decking canopy over the milk unloading area.
  • Installation of dairy tile.
  • Continuing with electrical, plumbing, and HVAC rough ins.
  • Steam tunnel work.
  • The refrigeration unit is installed; currently piping installation is in progress.
  • Aluminum doors are being installed.
  • Sheet rocking of the Dairy Bar has begun and continues.

Work to be starting in the near future consists of:

  • Electrical switchover from existing transformer to new building main switchgear.
  • Taping of sheetrock
  • Installation of exterior wall panels around the evaporator tower.

As part of the Dairy Micro Processing Plant Addition we have to tie into the main switch gear to Dairy Micro. This involves installing a large disconnect in the main switch gear. In order to accomplish this, the contractor will need to shut the power off to the switch gear/building for half a day. We have tentatively scheduled this for January 3 from approximately 8 a.m. to 1 p.m. This has to be done eventually in order to get the processing plant tied in. As this is Christmas Break and a holiday weekend it is the most opportune time to conduct this outage. An official outage notice will be sent out to all building occupants once approved by the respective department heads.

Dec. 15, 2010 


Interior of the dairy store.

Dec. 8, 2010 



Current construction taking place at the DM Processing Plant Addition include the following:

  • Installing window canopies
  • Installation of interior Electrical, plumbing, and HVAC equipment
  • Installation of freezer floors
  • Caulking the interiors of the processing areas
  • Installation of refrigerant equipment and piping
  • Installation of windows and doors
  • Interior masonry work

Anticipated work in the near future consists of:

  • Installing knee walls in the freezer area
  • Sheet rocking the Dairy Bar
  • Fire sprinkler system rough ins

So far we have been very lucky with the weather. All of the exterior masonry and roofing was completed prior to the snowfall and cold weather we have seen in the last few days. Windows and doors are being installed and the construction area of the building for all practical purposes is weather tight. The contractors continue to work hard and are staying on schedule.

Nov. 10, 2010


Current construction taking place at the DM Processing Plant Addition include the following:

  • installation of interior insulated freezer wall panels
  • application of interior fiberglass wall covering
  • membrane roofing
  • exterior brick work
  • tunnel plumbing work

Anticipated work in the near future consists of:

  • interior electrical and mechanical work
  • continue of fiberglass wall coverings
  • roof reinforcement in existing building
  • continuation of existing work

The building should be weather tight in the next few weeks so that interior construction can continue to go smoothly as the weather gets colder.

Oct. 30, 2010 


Brick laying on the exterior has begun this week.

Oct. 22, 2010 


Sealant has been applied to the building exterior this week.

Oct. 11, 2010 


Spray dryer and evaporator, manufactured by Dahmes Stainless of New London, MN were delivered and installed on 11th October. The precast for the roof has arrived and also been set. The contractor is beginning to install face brick and we will begin roofing the building next week. In the next month the contractor will be working on interior building framing, fiberglass wall covering installation, aluminum window/entrance installation, and the freezer and coolers should start being installed. To date everything appears to be on schedule and going well.

Oct. 5, 2010 



Roof installation has begun this week.

Sept. 21, 2010 



Construction continues on the Dairy Micro Processing Plant Addition. Construction contractors are continuing to work on masonry work on the addition portion of the project. Plumbing is working in the steam tunnels installing pipe to provide steam to the new addition and the electrical contractor is working on electrical rough ins. In the next few weeks we should start seeing equipment show up for the new evaporator. Much of this will be installed prior to the roof being constructed. Precast for the roof should also be arriving and being set on the roof in the near future.

Reported by David Healy, SDSU Facilities and Services

Sept. 1, 2010 


Aug. 19, 2010 


Aug. 4, 2010 


July 19, 2010 



The site has been wet with all the rains we have been getting, but to date everything is still on schedule and going well.

To date the following construction has been done on the Dairy Micro Processing Plant Addition Project:

The site has been cleared of all landscaping and topsoil.

  • Footings have been excavated and poured.
  • Interior and exterior foundation walls have been constructed on the additions and backfilled.
  • Some utility work has been excavated and installed.

Continuing forward in the next couple weeks we expect the following work to be started:

  • Finish grading interior floor.
  • Installing underfloor mechanical and electrical utilities in the addition.
  • Interior concrete floors should start being poured.

Reported by David Healy, SDSU Facilities and Services

July 6, 2010


June 21, 2010



June 7, 2010


The construction work has begun. The contractor is completing the construction safety fence and chain link fence surrounding the work site.  Pedestrian and public access to the Dairy-Micro Building and the dairy store is limited to the lobby from the south side and to the north end of the building. Deliveries of milk and other items to the building will be through the construction site. The construction fence has been installed to allow pedestrian access to and from Medary Avenue between the construction sites at AGH and DM. The contractor has begun removing asphalt paving along the south edge of the parking lot where the building addition's north wall will be constructed and where utilities will be installed to serve the new processing plant addition. The contractor anticipates excavating utility services (water, sewer, and storm sewer) in the next couple weeks, and beginning excavations for the footings and foundation wall. The University, contractor, and designers are planning portions of the project work that will interface with the existing building and its operating systems to keep the Dairy Processing Plant operating throughout construction with minimal interruptions. The Dairy Store will remain open throughout construction except for short outages or interruptions that may be unavoidable. Reported by Les Olive, SDSU Facilities and Services

May 19, 2010 


Construction for the Dairy Micro Processing Plant Addition will be kicking off this week. The general contractor for this project (Clark Drew Construction) will begin fencing off the remainder of the Dairy Micro Parking lot and the construction area this week. Shortly after ground excavation work will begin in the area.

May 7, 2010

Groundbreaking of the dairy plant took place in the Dairy-Micro Building. 


Planning and Design


Planning and design of the dairy plant took place over the course of approximately 5 years and involved university faculty, and engineers, regulatory officials, and several large processing companies from around the United States. The objective of the design process was to develop plans for building a facility that will provide top quality hands-on dairy education to students, and research capabilities in the area of dairy processing.