MADISON, S.D. (KELO) — Dakota State University announced a master plan in 2018 to build a new sports complex, starting with an outdoor track and soccer field, to be followed by an events center and football field. Now, more than four years later, construction has begun on phase one of the plan.

Construction is underway in Madison as Dakota State University begins a master plan to build a new home for every team in their athletic program. The need for the facilities occurred as the program saw extensive growth.

“The fieldhouse was built in 1957 and at that time, we had 75 student athletes in the athletic program. We now have 471. So you can imagine how cramped our facilities are,” DSU Athletic Director Jeff Dittman said.

Following years of planning and fundraising, the money was raised for phase one, which will cost more than $35 million.

“We were just finally ready to get something done. We had the right people in the right positions for things to happen and then once we raised enough money, that’s when the real emotion came out,” DSU football coach Josh Anderson said. “Oh my goodness, we’re there, we’re going to do this and this is happening.”

“We’re going to get a facility that will be able to house all of our athletes. It will be a first class facility. It’s going to be a facility that you can bring a recruit in and their first statement is going to be ‘wow’,” Dittman said.

Construction for phase one is underway, which includes the new outdoor track and soccer field, which will be completed in 2023. Then they’ll work on the new events center and football stadium, which will be done in 2024.

“This just really reflects what we’re all about and it’s going to be awesome for our student athletes and our students in general,” DSU track and field coach Anthony Drealan said.

“I would say it’s a reflection of the commitment that we all want from the athletes to the coaches to the athletic administration, our foundation and our president,” Anderson said. “I’m overwhelmed with excitement and pride, to be honest with you.”

Construction in Madison

While phase one won’t be completed for two years, the university remains eager to see the finished product.

“It’s a very emotional thought. It’s a really big deal. We haven’t done anything major here in athletics in a very long time,” Anderson said. “We’ve done some good things, we’ve made some good things happen, but this is major.”

“If our schedule stays in tact, we’ll probably have our Ag Bowl which is our single biggest ball game of the year, against our biggest rival, Dakota Wesleyan,” Dittman said. “We expect that to be an event that our student athletes will never forget.”

Along with the new facilities, DSU will add five news programs over the next few years, including men’s and women’s soccer, men’s and women’s golf and drone racing.