USD Student Government Association (SGA) discussed the DakotaDome renovations and the impacts it will have on student attendance at home sporting events at their weekly meeting Tuesday evening.
SGA resumed their weekly meetings after not having a meeting last week due to the Vince Staples concert put on by Campus Activities Board.
This week’s meeting featured special guests David Herbster, USD’s athletics director and Dave Williams, the deputy athletics director. The two spoke on the upcoming DakotaDome renovations and the issues regarding seating for the 2019 football season.
The DakotaDome renovations are set to begin in February 2019 and tentatively completed by 2020. The current issue with the renovation is with available seating in the DakotaDome for the 2019 football season.
While in renovation, the entire west side will not be usable. Currently, the west side serves as student seating and band seating.
PJ Freidel, SGA senator, was appointed by Josh Sorbe, SGA president, for the DakotaDome renovation committee. Freidel said the committee’s first meeting went well, but they are still a long way to a solution.
“We’ve only had one meeting so far, but it was actually really informative,” Freidel said. “There was actually a lot of different ideas that came forward right away. And the situation was actually a lot more complicated than we originally thought.”
Currently, the committee has proposed three possible solutions to the lack of seating issue, two of which allow for 740 seats designated for students, while the third will allow 540 for students.
While the renovation is taking places Herbster and Williams said they are going to try and get permission from the contractors, so the band will be able to remain seated on the west side of the dome.
“The third solution is kind of the worst scenario,” Williams said. “The contractor says no to the band (being on the west side). If that happens, we will have to try and find room on the east side for the band, along with the students.”
Herbster said if the contractors don’t allow the band to sit on the west side, the athletics department will find a way to make up the lost revenue and keep the student tickets at 740.
“I don’t like that scenario, we need everybody there at the game that we possibly can,” Herbster said. “We will find a way to make up the revenue we lose with the 200 tickets we don’t sell.”
If the third solution is chosen, the university will lose roughly $30,000. This is figured by taking the average price of general tickets, sold at $25, multiplied by 200, and then multiplied by the number of home games that season, which will be six.
“I want to still be able to give students the opportunity, or as many students as we can to go to games next year for the 2019 season, but also not have an extreme loss in revenue for the university,” Freidel said. “We’re just trying to figure out who gets the students and how they get them with the loss of revenue to the university itself are some of the main concerns”
Next week’s meeting will host Debra Robertson from the USD student counseling center as the special guest.