SIOUX FALLS, SD -
The Sanford Pentagon is officially open for business. After years of planning, funding, and building the Pentagon opened it's doors last weekend for the Inaugural Volleyball Invitational.
"I think our design team and everybody that has worked on this has done a great job. People are going to be amazed when they walk in here and see it for the first time," Sanford Pentagon GM Eric Larsen said.
Five years ago the Sanford Pentagon was an idea, now it is a bigger than life sports complex. The doors to this 160,000 square foot home to nine courts were opened just over a week ago and the reaction was just as the designers had hoped for.
"We walked in and didn't know where to look there was so many big things everywhere. Everything was ginormous," Sioux Valley Senior Becca Apland said.
"They had the wow factor. They were looking up at everything while walking around. We got here early and took a look at the place before we settled into our uniforms. Then we got down on the floor and the girls were ready to get to business," Chester Volleyball Coach Jean Benson said.
The $19 million facility has many courts; however the main stage is elegantly called Heritage Court. Its deep brown wood and strategic lighting gives you a feel of where the game was played in its earliest stages. The lane is slim, just like it originally was in the shape of a key. Hence the phrase "top of the key".
"The whole theme of this Heritage Court is about taking you back to a certain era of basketball, back to the fifties and sixties. There a lot of small details that went into giving you that feeling. We are really geared into making the experience for these athletes great and I think the venue is taking care of that right now," Larsen said.
Not only are high school hoopsters and volleyball players breaking in the new wood, but major athletes as well. This Thursday Heritage Court will host it's first NBA preseason game as the Timberwolves and Bucks come to town. Tickets went fast after Milwaukee signed recent SDSU standout Nate Wolters.
"It's basically a sell out at this point. We are very excited about that. to have an NBA team come here, of course the Bucks and Nate Wolters coming to play will be a special treat for everybody too," Larsen said.
And if that treat doesn't fix your basketball sweet tooth, next month the Pentagon will welcome in two power house college basketball teams. The Badgers will take the court with St. Johns. Wisconsin has ties to Sioux Falls with Roosevelt graduate Joe Krabbenhoft playing four years under Bo Ryan.
"The Wisconsin game is a real bonus for us. The Timberwolves game is a preseason game and it will be great. But we're talking opening weekend of the NCAA basketball season with two perennial top 25 teams and great programs in Wisconsin and St. Johns. We are going to see some really high end athletes playing basketball in here," Larsen said.
Not only are the athletes high end, but the ticket prices may seem that way too. But when you consider the venue only holds 3,100 seats, there isn't a bad one in the house. Also, these teams are coming to our backyard saving you money on hotels and food, while out of town fans are spending there cash here.
"Both of out first big games are televised. There will be people all over the country that see that sign that says, Heritage Court in Sioux Falls, South Dakota. Maybe they will say, hey what's going on in Sioux Falls, lets go check it out," Larsen said.
The saying is, "if you build it they will come". Sanford has built it and already people can't wait to come. The Pentagon will also be home to the Skyforce and the NSIC basketball tournament beginning this season. With so many courts, a hotel, and a restaurant they are already set to host a state tournament when one becomes available.
"An arena like this for the city of Sioux Falls would attract a lot of teams. It has a lot of playing area and opportunity for everyone playing," Apland said.
"Well it's just bigger. The first thing my girls said was, wow we could play a state tournament here. I think that is the kind of atmosphere that a beautiful complex like this brings. It does have a state tournament feel to it when you have this big of a venue and that is pretty exciting for kids," Benson said.
Five years ago they began planning the Pentagon, five years later they are still doing the same as they continue to fill up their calendar with exciting events both locally and nationally.
"We are going to take it immediately to a regional level, but we are looking to take this to a national level in the next five years too," Larsen said.
If you are trying to get tickets to the Timberwolves game this week there aren't many remaining. However, great seats are still available for the Wisconsin game on November 8th.
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