A new $66 million upgrade to athletic facilities on the campus of the University of South Dakota is getting closer to reality. School officials announced construction will begin on May 12. The main piece of the project includes a new arena for basketball.
"A lot of times the students are attracted to shiny things. This is definitely going to be a shiny and a new thing," USD Athletic Director David Herbster said.
For years, the DakotaDome has been home to anything and everything that deals with USD athletics. Come the 2016-17 school year, it will no longer be the only facility on the campus block.
"To bring it to a reality, to have that end date, that finish line in sight, is a rewarding process," Herbster said.
While the new arena for basketball and volleyball is the centerpiece, Herbster says this new multi-million dollar project will have an effect on every Coyote student-athlete.
"So with this basketball arena and still having the Dome, what we'll have in track and then you name it with soccer, to me this continues Vermillion to be a destination," Herbster said.
The new indoor space includes a weight room and two practice courts. The main court will be something Coyote fans haven't had in a while, an intimate setting for basketball.
"That's what you kind of want. You're hoping for everybody to be right on top of you. As a fan, you're looking for an experience. As great as the Dome has been for us, in certain areas, it's tough to watch a basketball game in there and really feel like you're a part of the action when sometimes you're so far away from it," Herbster said.
Herbster says there's still about $10 million in donations left to solidify.