A $26 million project, DakotaDome renovations will likely begin by next year.
By about 2020, the west side of the Dome will have new entrances’ storage space, new facilities for locker rooms, offices and meeting rooms and updated hvac, electrical, lighting, speakers and plumbing systems.
Emily Badura, a junior elementary education major, said these upgrades will impact the Dome’s atmosphere.
“Even though those things may seem small, not a big deal to us, they contribute to the overall experience of watching the game, which is important,” Badura said.
The initial planning process for the renovations began about a year ago.
“When we first started the planning process for the new arena, the Dome renovations were part of that process,” said David Herbster, USD’s athletic director. “We realized not only was it going to cost more money at that point in time, but we weren’t sure how all the pieces would fall together.”
The cost for renovations went down from $30 million.
“You just have to work really, really hard to make sure you keep in what you absolutely need to have in the project,” Herbster said.
Herbster said they planned to have the Sanford Coyote Sports Center up and running for about a year before moving on to Dome renovations.
“Then we have a better idea of what’s usable, what’s not usable, what are some of the traffic or flow patterns,” he said.
Herbster said USD is searching for a permanent architect, who they hope to have “by the end of the calendar year.”
“Then we’ll go through and try to define how this is all going to fit together,” he said.
The plan will still need to go through the legislature next session to get approval for the comprehensive plans, Herbster said.
“Finishing the Dome” is something Herbster is excited for.
“When the Dome was originally built, both sides were supposed to look like the permanent seating side — there were supposed to be entrances on that side,” he said.
Madison Godschalk, a junior secondary education major, said she attends football games often. Upgrading the Dome will be a great change to USD, she said.
“No one’s really going to want to go to a place that isn’t going to have the correct plumbing, or the correct facilities,” Godschalk said.
Herbster said these renovations are important for “fan amenities.”
“You’ve got to make it a space and an environment not only they want to come to, but they want to return to as well,” he said. “The Dome has been an iconic facility in the state for 38 years now. We need to make sure that we keep this facility to the state that the standard has come to expect, and make sure it is an iconic, useable facility for the foreseeable future.”