Regents agree to allow more directors on USD Discovery District board — and add Jim Abbott

Capitol News Bureau
KELO Pierre Capitol building legislature

PIERRE, S.D. (KELO) — The number of directors for the University of South Dakota Discovery District business-development area in Sioux Falls can range from 10 to 15, the state Board of Regents decided Tuesday.

The board has been 11 members, but the regents also agreed Tuesday to add former USD President Jim Abbott to it.

Regent Kevin Schieffer of Sioux Falls said 11 was too big and 15 was more unworkable. He voted against the expansion that passed 8-1.

Mark Brown, the Discovery District’s president, said the board wants flexibility. He described the current members as “highly engaged” and didn’t want to lose any while wanting to add Abbott.

Brown said Abbott has confirmed he’s willing to serve.

LifeScape plans to build a hospital and related facilities in the district, located adjacent to the former University Center, now called USD Community College for Sioux Falls, on the city’s northwest side.

Abbott, 72, is a lawyer and a former legislator who served as USD president from 1997 to 2018. The Legislature established the research park in 2009 and lawmakers passed another law in 2012 allowing public or private research parks on regent property.

USD is located in Vermillion and operates the state’s medical school in Sioux Falls.

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