What we know now is that the west side of the DakotaDome will be closed for renovations during the 2019 football season. This means that, unfortunately, the student section will also be closed.
What does this mean?
It means that, according to the USD’s athletic administration, roughly 5,280 total seats will be available for the six home football games during the 2019 season, which is almost half of the 10,000 seats that were available for games this year. And within these roughly 2,580, 718-740 seats will be reserved for students.
This is an issue as the average attendance of students for home games is 1,420, according to administration. And even the lowest attended game was still 936 students, which is roughly 200 more students that will be able to fit in this temporary student section.
Admittedly, this puts a damper on football season for a number of reasons. The upside in all of this, however, is the fact that finding the space for students in the most effective way possible is a priority. With fewer seats, comes higher demand, which is an issue that the administration is taking seriously.
No, the cutback on the student section isn’t ideal. While it would be great to continue to have the space we have had in the past to cheer on the Yotes, the fact of the matter is that what’s to come is going to be well worth this temporary inconvenience.
The changes to the DakotaDome are changes being made to improve our experience as fans. The proposed $26 million upgrade is going to lead the way to better electrical systems, sound systems and even better plumbing. Not to mention the fact that the renovation of the west side of the Dome will allow for more seating in the future – which is a win for the students in the long run.
In an interview with The Volante last year, athletic director David Herbster explained the necessity for an upgrade to our facilities.
“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, usable facility for the foreseeable future,” Herbster stated.
So while we may not like facing change, there’s no denying that an upgrade is just that. An upgrade.
Construction on the west side of the dome is expected to begin in February 2019 and conclude just in time for the 2020 football season to begin.
The DakotaDome will become bigger and better, which is a win for us as fans and Coyotes.