Indoor facility inches closer with BOR vote

Marcus Traxler

It’s fitting that the new Indoor Practice and Human Performance Athletic Facility will contain a track, because the project continues to jump hurdles.

The South Dakota Board of Regents approved SDSU’s facility program plan Oct. 11 to allow the school to proceed with official plans for the estimated $38.3 million project. The building would be linked to the north side of the Dykhouse Student-Athlete Center.

In early August, SDSU had $18 million in donations, with $10 million funded by a donation from Sanford Health. On Sept. 24, SDSU announced it had received another anonymous donor providing a $5 million match challenge, matching donations up to the $5 million mark as an incentive to finish the process. The university has stated $28 million will build the facility with most of the amenities.

The school hopes it can get the project through the South Dakota State Legislature this spring and with a goal to open the facility in fall 2014.

Students’ Association State and Local Government Chairman Jameson Goetz was part of the SA representation in Vermillion for the BOR meeting. He said some people present were concerned about the project using student funds, which will not be the case. Goetz said it’s possible the proposal could be slowed down in Pierre.

“I think we have a good shot,” Goetz said. “Most of the regents seemed to be receptive to the project. It’s hard to say how things would go in the legislature.”

BOR documents have broken the facility down into three sections. The $27.7 million indoor practice facility, which will include an 80-yard football field with synthetic turf and a 300-meter, eight-lane track, would make up over 70 percent of the fully-proposed 188,995 square-foot facility. The $5.7 million human performance portion would be almost 30,000 square feet and would house strength and conditioning, sports medicine, rehabilitation, training and treatment facilities. A third section would include seating for roughly 1,000 spectators, concessions and concourse space and restrooms over 20,000 square feet. The third section would transform the building into a competition facility in addition to a training facility, costing $4.9 million.

“We’ve had a lot of designs on projects over the years, and we just haven’t been able to get over the hump,” SDSU Athletic Director Justin Sell said earlier this year. “We’ve celebrated 50 years of Coughlin-Alumni Stadium, and 40 years of Frost Arena is approaching. When you think about what this building can do for us at SDSU, it’s pretty exciting.”

The action from the BOR indicated that the budget for utilities for the new building will come from the state budget. It could be passed onto students if operating revenues generated by SDSU are not enough, which would be $190,000 per year. Maintenance and repair costs would be backed by the SDSU Foundation via endowment and annual funds and are estimated between $400,000 to $640,000 per year. Higher Education Facilities Fund monies would pick up any extra costs related to maintenance and repair.

The BOR facility plan reads, “No student fee increases beyond the amount needed for utilities are anticipated for construction, operation, or maintenance of this facility.”

Operations costs are estimated at $386,000 per year and would be covered by sponsorship revenues and rental and user charges. Those revenues are estimated to be $400,000 per year.