The South Dakota Board of Regents Budget and Finance Committee gave the University of South Dakota approval on Oct. 10 to move forward in the legislative process with the expansion of the Muenster University Center and the planned athletic complex.
The expansion of the MUC will extend the building to the east and west sides of the connector, adding 29,000-square-feet for seating, along with more room for the faculty.
“Students are not just dining in this facility. They come, they dine, they stay, and they study,” said Sheila Gestring, USD’s vice president of Finance at the BOR meeting. “The building is being utilized more hours of the day.”
Gestring said meal plans are up 30 percent, and most of them were purchased by students who weren’t required to buy them. There has also been an increase in the retail sales at the MUC.
The BOR also approved an outdoor track and soccer field for USD athletes along with a connector building that would stretch between the DakotaDome and a new basketball and volleyball arena. The connector would house a weight room, along with a health science and research lab.
Steve Brown, president of the USD Foundation, said the Board of Regents would be given an update in December on whether any additional funds are needed to build the $58.8 million athletic complex. If there is a shortfall, then the USD Foundation and the university would come together to make up the difference.
“What they approved was the concept of the athletic complex. They gave their blessing,” Brown said.