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Tall & Proud: Dickinson not much for towering buildings -- yet

St. Joseph's Hospital and Health Center is Dickinson's tallest building at 90 feet.

Dickinson may not host a skyline of tall buildings, but this community in the Great Plains may see more on the way.

St. Joseph's Hospital and Health Center is the tallest in Dickinson at about 90 feet, a staff member said.

The elevator shaft of Jordheim Plaza in downtown Dickinson, formally known as the Old Ivanhoe Inn, rises to 88 feet.

Dickinson State University's Pulver Hall and DeLong Hall both hit the sky at 77 feet. All buildings have six stories, making them the four tallest buildings in the Queen City.

After that, there are a lot of buildings that are the same size, City Building Inspector Mel Zent said.

As long as land is available, the city may not see any high-rises popping into the clouds, he said, but city officials expect buildings to go up to accommodate for the lack of land within city limits.

"When the borders and parameters of our city limits start creating problems where we can't expand our city limits, that's when you start seeing buildings going up," he added.

Dubai, United Arab Emirates has the Burj Khalifa, towering more than 2,700 feet above the Earth as the world's tallest structure. Chicago's Willis Tower, formerly known as the Sears Tower, with 108 stories, is the tallest building in the U.S. And One World Trade Center, claimed the title of New York's tallest skyscraper Monday at more than 1,250 feet.

Dickinson's St. Joseph's Hospital, which nuns managed, was built on the outskirts of town in 1911 on top of a hill, CEO Reed Reyman said.

"I think the idea was to have it be a symbol of the sisters' generosity and their caring and their love for the community," he said. "It also is kind of a symbol that they were there to look out toward the citizens in the area and to provide that much needed health care."

Dickinson has grown around the hospital, making it a centerpiece of the city.

Jordheim Plaza was constructed in 1952, owner Lori Jordheim of Dickinson said. Lori owns the building with her husband, Brent.

"There was a St. Charles Hotel that used to stand on that spot and it burnt down in 1950," she said.

The Jordheims bought the building in 1995 to renovate three of its six levels.

"We've taken really good care of it just because we know it is such a part of downtown Dickinson."

Built in 1969, DeLong was the women's dormitory while Pulver was the men's, DSU staff said. Both have a basement in addition to the six levels.

It wasn't until the end of the Vietnam War when Pulver was purchased and converted into the Badlands Human Services Center. DeLong serves as a co-ed dorm.

DSU student Kayla Kessler, Stanton, who lives on the sixth floor, said it doesn't feel like she lives in a "skyscraper."

"You don't realize you are in the sky so high," she said, adding the dorms look the same whether she is on the first or sixth floor.

Developments in the area have the potential to surpass the height of these buildings in newer areas of town, City Planner Ed Courton said.

"As a city, until recently our buildings have been one to two stories high. Some of our hotels are three," he said. "We're having more and more requests to maximize the building envelope with respect to height."

There is no limit to the structure height for downtown commercial buildings, the city planner said. However, he added that the chance of a building surpassing the "skyscrapers" is low in the near future in the older part of town.

"Why would someone build an eight-story building downtown when all they need to do is build a four?" he asked. "I just don't see us getting to that point in the near future."