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November 02, 2011 06:03 PM

University Presidents Endorse Events Center

Sioux Falls, SD

Supporters have claimed a new $115 million events center would do big things for the City of Sioux Falls.

"It is also a topic that is impacting this region, the state and important entities up and down I-29," Mayor Mike Huether said.

Less than a week before the November 8th election, the heads of two of those entities, SDSU President David Chicoine and USD President Jim Abbott, said voting yes for the center next week is voting yes for their students all the way in Brookings and Vermillion.

"I'm not positive how many events we'd be interested in at the events center, but I know our students want more things to attend and go to," Abbott said. 

At a press conference Mayor Mike Huether hosted at the Chamber of Commerce building, both men said  they are not yet willing to commit their athletic teams, the SDSU Jackrabbits and USD Coyotes, to an events center, but they are eyeing a big athletic event.

Chicoine praised Sioux Falls Arena for hosting the league's men's and women's basketball championships in 2009 and 2010. The league's top event brought positive attention and revenue to the state.

Since the University of Nebraska Omaha has been added to the Summit League, it means more competition in 2013, when the league issues bids for hosting in 2015-2016. Chicoine and Abbott agree for South Dakota to be in the game for the future games, Sioux Falls needs to a division one player.

"President Abbott and and I have a really, really simple job. Our job is to create a more prosperous future and to build a better South Dakota. We can do that better collaboratively with these sorts of enabling opportunities than we can think about individually," Chicoine said. 

"Many of us around the state attended because we were going in the conference, but interested in it, period. It's a little like the football playoffs coming to Vermillion. It's all part of South Dakota," Abbott said.

Beyond athletic opportunities, Chicoine and Abbott see possibilities to unite their students in Sioux Falls.  Both hint at future cooperative events between SDSU and USD, as well as Augustana and USF at an events center.

"How we take full advantage of that opportunity will be part of that. But, without the events center we won't have that opportunity," Chicoine said.
  • Sioux Falls, SD


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