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Someone You Should Know: Helping Sioux Falls Grow

Meet one city employee very involved with new Amazon project
Published: Feb. 17, 2021 at 7:36 PM CST
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SIOUX FALLS, S.D. (Dakota News Now) - A Sioux Falls man has worked his way up and is now the chief building official for the City of Sioux Falls. Having this title, he’s played a key part in one of the biggest projects the city has ever seen-- the new Amazon facility being built right now.

Butch Warrington is one of the city employees who’s been most involved with the Amazon fulfillment center project at Foundation Park. His role has to do with the actual building itself.

“Especially a building like this, because it is a unique building. We’d never seen anything quite like it come into the city of Sioux Falls, so I was brought in on the conversations very early on this, because they wanted to make sure what they were going to build was going to be okay to be built in the city of Sioux Falls.”

“They” being the general contractor for the project, Ryan Companies, and Ford Architects as well.

When asked what those conversations are about, Butch said this, “They wanted to do some things that probably weren’t necessarily in the code. So, what they did was they hired a professional engineer, fire protection engineer, in order to allow them to do that. And if we weren’t on board, they probably wouldn’t have come. But, everything they talked about, and we had a lot of good discussions on this, so they’re building it equal or better, and I’d like to say ‘or better’ than what the specific requirements of the code are.”

It’s easy for Butch to point out what’s so different about this project.

“2.9 million square feet is unique. It’s five stories in height and a lot of it will be robotics that’s on the inside. If you’ve ever done Google and YouTube videos of Amazon, you can see that.”

But, he says in reality, no two buildings are the same and that’s one of his favorite parts about his job. In fact, you may have an older family member living in another unique facility in Sioux Falls, one that stands out to Butch when looking back on his career.

“The Grand Living building out on Lake Lorraine. And that one was unique because it’s the only place in the city of Sioux Falls that I know that has a four-hour wall in it. It’s built such that you should have a fire, you have about four hours to get out. What they do is they don’t move people out, they move them to the other side of that wall to get them over there to a safe haven, then they start moving people out in case of an emergency.”

No matter what building it is, the main goal of his office is always the same.

“It’s all about life safety for us. To make sure that it’s safe not only for the current people, but also for the people who are going to live there or use that building at a future date.”

Butch started working for the city in 1999. He was a mechanical inspector and a plans examiner before he was named chief building official about four years ago.

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