The exterior shape of the performance enhancement complex expansion to the DakotaDome should be in place by August.
Project Manager Lorin Wilcox said much of the exterior work to the building will be completed over the summer when most students aren’t on campus.
“The arena exterior walls will be in place with some final roof trusses to set and exterior sheathing to finish. There will also still be final exterior finishes to place, such as the roofing membrane, but the size and shape of the facility will be evident,” Wilcox said.
Over the summer, the new arena will be attached to the DakotaDome, Wilcox said.
“As part of the project, the DakotaDome and the arena are connected at multiple locations,” Wilcox said. “The connection locations require openings to be cut in the south Dome wall. Before the Dome wall is cut, steel beams and columns will be placed to reinforce the wall.”
Wilcox said the work in the DakotaDome will begin after graduation and be completed by July 4. The work will extend into the Dome’s strength and conditioning office.
USD Athletic Director David Herbster said the strength and conditioning office is aware of the construction set happen in their space.
“We’ve talked to them about it, and they know that’s coming,” Herbster said. “What they’re really doing in their office is they’re putting together all the workouts. They’re monitoring and inputting the results of various workouts.”
Herbster said summer is the best time for construction to avoid interfering with too many activities in the DakotaDome.
“Over the course of the summer, we have dramatically less student-athletes than we do during the course of the year,” Herbster said. “So if we’re going to displace them, summer is the best time to do it.”
Herbster said part of the weight room will be taken over by the construction as well.
“If we look up into the weight room right now, certainly our strength coach is going to lose his office, but we’re also going to lose square footage up there,” he said. “I got to believe we’re going to lose more than an office. We’re going to lose some amount of square footage, so we’ll just have to reposition some things and redirect some of those activities.”
Herbster also said athletes will be disrupted by the process.
“You can’t help but have some disruption during a construction process, especially when you’re kind of going through a wall,” he said. “What we’re trying to work with the contractors right now on is how will they be affected.”
Junior cross country and track runner Mubarik Musa said the construction disruption is best to happen during the summer.
“Summer is the time to do it,” Musa said. “Other than summer, once we get back in the fall season, the weight room is often overcrowded.”
The new track and soccer field should be completed next spring, Wilcox said.
“The track and soccer facility is supposed to be open for a track meet in April or May of 2016,” Wilcox said. “A lot of that facility will come together over the summer.”
Wilcox said the bleachers at the track and soccer facility will be installed over this summer. The track surface will also be completed over this summer.
Herbster said despite any setbacks or disruptions to any activities, both athletes and coaches have been understanding.
“We’ve talked to our coaches and our student-athletes and they’ve been really good. We know through this process there’s going to be periods of being uncomfortable, put out and being inconvenienced,” Herbster said. “The contractors have been good to work with us.”
(Photo: Progress on the expansion to the DakotaDome continues as the outlines of the new Sports Performance Enhancement Complex begin to take shape. Cristina Drey / The Volante)