The Coyotes played inside the DakotaDome for the first time in August of 1979. Now, the Dome is undergoing its third major renovation to keep up with the times.
The Dome, when it opened, was unique for its time. The Dome’s roof was not solid like it is now; instead, it was inflated like the old Metrodome in Minneapolis.
“The solid roof made the greatest impact,” said Assistant Athletic Director for Sports Medicine Bruce Fischbach. “A building formerly that had no air conditioning received A/C due to the new roof. That gave us a facility that was comfortable for both athletics and fans alike.”
Today, an ongoing $26.3 million renovation will create permanent seating on the west side, along with a new locker room and team meeting spaces. There will be two added main entrances on the west side.
The renovation costs more than the original building of the Dome itself. In 1979, the Dome’s construction cost $8.3 million.
While the renovations and the Sanford Coyote Sports Center have changed who plays in the Dome and what the atmosphere is like, there is still a home-field advantage that was unique then and now, academic advisor David Lorenz said.
“I remember games where the noise factor was so significant,” Lorenz said. “It would draw the other team offside or just make it difficult for them.”
Incoming teams had to make adjustments when they visited Vermillion’s concrete castle. Since there was no wall directly behind the hoop when the basketball court was down, opposing basketball teams had to adjust their depth perception, Lorenz said.
The USD markting department has put together a documentary on the Dome. The documentary premeires Thursday evening with a red carpet showing. The documentary will also air on Tuesday evening at 7 pm on Midco Sports Network.