VERMILLION, S.D. (KELO) — USD football opens its season on August 31st as it hosts Montana, but their home opener will have a slightly different look to it, due to ongoing renovations at the DakotaDome.
After nearly five months of construction, the renovations inside the DakotaDome are starting to take shape.
“Now you’re actually seeing it go up, and rise up out of the ground right before your eyes,” USD Athletic Director David Herbster said.
Though the west side of the dome will be closed until completion, the rest of the dome will need to be ready for the Coyotes home football opener on August 31st.
“The next month is a mad dash to get everything done that they need to get done so they can turn it back over to us, so we can clean, kind of de-stage, clean and then put the turf down in time for the first football game,” Herbster said.
Once completed the west side will feature a brand new locker room, training facilities and provide entrances on both sides of the Dome. It’ll also feature premium seating options which USD believes will separate the DakotaDome from other stadiums.
“There’s a wow factor there. There will be a level and an area from a premium, from those club seats, or those loge suites on the first three to four rows of the west side. That’s going to be like no other place in the country,” Herbster said.
With the modernization of the Dome, USD Head Football Coach Bob Nielson says it sends a clear message to future recruits.
“What new facilities show is a commitment by the institution to the future of Division 1 football here. We’re going to have top notch facilities to go along with a top notch University,” Nielson said.
Though they’ll have to wait another year, Nielson’s current players can’t wait to play in their newly renovated stadium.
“They can’t wait you know. I think they wish it was done now, but to be the first ones in those new facilities is going to be a special experience for that group of guys,” Nielson said.
The DakotaDome will only seat around 5,000 people this year, which caused the State High School Football Championships to be moved to Brookings. Once completed, the Dome will hold more than 9,000 people and see the return of the state championships to Vermillion.