SDSU receives $12.5M for new stadium

Marcus Traxler Editor-in-Chief

 The long-awaited future for SDSU’s football program is much closer thanks to two key donations on Hobo Day. 

Local philanthropist T. Denny Sanford and Sioux Falls banker Dana Dykhouse will donate $12.5 million to the proposed $60-65 million new football stadium. The new stadium will carry Dykhouse’s name and will be named Dana J. Dykhouse Stadium. 

Sanford will donate $10 million, while Dykhouse, who played defensive line for the Jacks in the 1970s, will donate $2.5 million. The two previously combined to raise $6 million for the other building that carries Dykhouse’s name, the Dykhouse Student-Athlete Center, which was built in 2010. The stadium project, which would be built where Coughlin-Alumni Stadium has sat since 1961, is subject to Board of Regents approval and is on track to go to the state legislature in January. 

Dykhouse said it’s been part of executing a long-term goal for SDSU sports. 

“We said South Dakota State deserves better,” Dykhouse recalled. “We started building a plan. Nothing good happens without a plan.” 

Sanford said it was hard to say no to his long-time friend in Dykhouse, even if it is $10 million. 

“I had the good fortune to come to South Dakota,” Sanford said. “It’s my home. If I were to have children today, I would send my kids to South Dakota State. Then I would have to send them to the Sanford School of Medicine,” he said, laughing about the donation he’s made to the in-state rivals in Vermillion. 

Wearing an SDSU hat, Sanford said he was thankful to give back to the state that has given him so much over the years, through work ethic and desire. He recognized what the stadium would be able to do for the level of play for the Jackrabbits. 

“You’re going to be able to recruit the best athletes in the country,” he said. “They’re going to come up here and say, ‘Wow, this is where I want to play ball. This is the best place for me.’ And we can continue to be champions.” 

It’s another donation in a long line of giving for the 77-year old Sanford, who donated $400 million to Sioux Valley Hospitals and Health System in 2007, which then renamed itself Sanford Health. He 


 also donated $70 million to reopen the Homestake Mine in Lead earlier this year.

“He invests in business plans, he invests in people and he invests in what he thinks can be successful,” Dykhouse said of Sanford.

SDSU president David Chicoine said the objective of the university is to transform students’ lives and that will occur with the new stadium. 

“This is a milestone occasion for us to continue to have and pursue that goal,” he said. 

More stadium details

Dykhouse Stadium, expected to be completed in time for the 2016 football season, will seat at least 18,500 fans and will have 27 suites and 156 loge level seats and will have more than 13,000 general admission seats. The stadium will be a three-sided bowl, with an opening in the southwest corner. Plans include moving the University Police Department to the first floor of the stadium and adding a team store to the facility. The payment plan includes selling bonds to total $50 million and then pay that off with seat licenses, season ticket sales, sponsorships and facility use fees. 

The remaining funds will be raised through donations like the pair announced over the weekend and potentially student fees. That $65 million total would cover all improvements, including commuter parking, which would be reduced because the new stadium would be much larger than the current footprint of Coughlin-Alumni Stadium. 

Students’ Association president Ben Stout told The Collegian two weeks ago that the conversations about using student fees have only just begun and that SDSU athletic director Justin Sell is planning on addressing the student senate in an upcoming meeting.

The stadium is to cover 277,000 square feet, according to SDSU’s facility program plan for the October Board of Regents meeting in Spearfish. It includes 105,000 square feet of grandstand space and will include entrances on the southwest, southeast and northwest corners of the stadium. The club level and suites will be housed on the second and third levels of the stadium, respectively, while the press level and a presidential suite are to be housed on the fourth floor of the stadium. The report also indicates that North Campus Drive will not have to be altered for the construction of the stadium. 

Dykhouse Stadium will have artificial turf, something that would have been welcome Saturday as the Jackrabbits and Southern Illinois played on the muddy field, torn up from the Brookings-Harrisburg high school game the night before. 

Chicoine said he expects the stadium to remain on schedule for 2016 and that this is a good start in reaching their goal. The stadium would be built in phases, with the east and south sides to be built in the summer of 2015 and then the west side would be built in 2016.

“These plans have been going for years at South Dakota State,” Dykhouse said. “When you put all of those things together, you can do something special. We are still true to who we’ve always been.”