Eye on KELOLAND: A look at the DakotaDome renovations

Eye on KELOLAND

VERMILLION, S.D. (KELO) – A decades old facility on the USD campus was just upgraded. Last year construction began on the west side of the DakotaDome.

If you’re a USD fan, there’s a chance you’ve probably spent time in the DakotaDome. The next time you are able to attend a game or event, it will look a little different inside.

From a new football locker room to upgraded seating for fans, these are just a few of the newest upgrades in the DakotaDome.

“The building has been here for 40 years and it was in need of an update,” senior associate athletic director for facilities and operations, Corey Jenkins said. “So completely gutted the west side of the dome and did a total renovation, we have five levels, 100 level through 500 level on that side.”

Work on the project began in February of 2019, now about a year and a half later, phase 1 of the project is wrapping up.

“As we sit we are about 99% complete with phase 1 with a few small items to tie up in the month of August and then we will be done with phase 1 of this project,” Jenkins said.

The DakotaDome is used by many groups throughout campus.

Student athletes who use the DakotaDome, like football players, will now have access to a brand new locker room and a football team lounge.

“When we unveiled this space to our guys there was a tremendous amount of excitement and our older facilities were not up to par with what Division 1 facilities really needed to be and this is a first class type of facility,” USD head football coach, Bob Nielson said.

USD head football coach Bob Neilson says the updated facilities can even play a role in recruitment.

“We have a great university, we have great people here, play in one of the most competitive leagues in the country and so to have facilities that are on the same parallels as those things helps us in recruiting to be able to attract the best student athletes in the country to our program,” Neilson said.

On the 200 level, fans will be able to enjoy new seating, including ten suites and 15 loge boxes.

“We went from retractable seating on the west side of the dome to nice, new fixed seating, chair backed seating, and adding the luxury aspect of that with the suites and the loges so we sit just north of 9,000 seats in the dome,” Jenkins said.

Additionally, guests will now have access to more amenities on the west side.

“The 300 level is our concourse level, so all new concessions, restrooms, a major upgrade for this facility, as well as our ticket offices, and that’s our main spectator entrance on the west side of the dome now,” Jenkins said.

Jenkins says work is underway on the other levels of the facility.

“The 400 level will be future football coaches office, team meeting rooms, positional meeting rooms, that is all part of phase 2 and is underway right now, and the 500 level is shell space for now and we will build that out to whatever we need when that time comes,” Jenkins said.

He expects Phase 2 to be completed by February of next year.

Making this a project that university officials are looking forward to sharing with fans.

“We are incredibly excited to be able to open this to the public when our global situation allows us to do that, and really hoping that whether it’s commencement later this fall or football games as we look toward the spring, really excited to get people into the building, show off our new west side of the dome,” Jenkins said.

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