Two state House Bills, which would fund updates to the DakotaDome and the National Music Museum, were passed by the state Senate on Feb. 7 and are awaiting the governor’s signature.
House Bill 1060 would appropriate a sum of $14.5 million privately raised donations, $6.4 million capital funds held at USD and $5.4 million from the higher education facilities fund towards the estimated cost of $26.3 million for updates to the DakotaDome.
House Bill 1065 would appropriate $7.76 million in privately raised donations and $1.5 million from the higher education facilities fund towards the estimated cost of $9.2 million for updates to the National Music Museum.
Finishing the DakotaDome
David Herbster, athletic director, said construction of the DakotaDome was completed and opened to the public in 1979, but the builders of the Dome “ran out of money” before they finished their blueprints.
“When this Dome was originally designed, it was designed to have both sides almost look the same and during the process when they originally built the dome…they really only finished one side of the Dome,” he said. “This effort will be to in essence finish the Dome.”
The DakotaDome has seen three renovations since its opening, including a steel roof, locker rooms and new turf.
Herbster said the planned renovations to the west side of the Dome below the student section will include new locker rooms, meeting rooms and a concourse. He said he hopes the design process and renovations will begin in 2019.
“The idea is back behind the seats would be to put locker rooms, meeting rooms and probably readjusted storage space as support space,” he said. “Up on that concourse level which is where the courts were, or where the one volleyball court and the weight room is, that will actually be a concourse for fan traffic throughout a game.”
Another needed update in the Dome is the lighting and sound systems, Herbster said. He hopes to replace the current lights with LED lights, which he said would be more energy-efficient.
“If you’ve been in there, you’ll notice a very constant hum and a buzz that’s in there. Those are those old lights,” he said. “In that process too would be to address the sound system in the facility. For those that are in there whether you’re watching the game, graduation, anything else, the sound system in there is not conducive to events both on the floor and in the stands.”
Herbster said pending the governor’s approval of House Bill 1060, there will be student athlete input about what their “wants and needs” are for the DakotaDome.
“When they first start talking about the design or what types of uses they want to have in it, much like what we did in the arena and the track project, you have some student athlete input,” he said. “We will need to get input from both student athletes, coaches and staff on the use and the functionality really what are the needs. I want to make sure that when we do this, we build it right the first time and we build it to last.”
National Music Museum updates
Patricia Bornhofen, manager of communications for the National Music Museum, said the updates would give them more space to house their collections.
“We have 15,000 items in a collection and we have 1200 items on public display right now and we’re really kind of busting at our seams,” Bornhofen said. “We need to get space overall for that entire collection, curating it, conserving it, exhibiting it and showing it to the public.”
Dennis Acrea, interim director of the National Music Museum, said the National Music Museum has had plans for expansion for a number of years.
Acrea said that pending the governor’s signature and the Board of Regents’ approval, the renovations would include additional classroom space, conservation and curatorial space as well as exhibit space. He also said they hope to make the building more accessible.
“We have wonderful exhibits that will be updated,” Acrea said. “We’re most excited about expanding the classroom space and the hands-on space for children. There will be some nice additions to these galleries as a result of this renovation in addition.”