Phase I of the Dakota State University’s athletics master plan is well underway with construction of the Athletics Events Center, football stadium, track complex, and soccer field, but the University is not stopping there. They have recently secured a gift that will help the institution move forward with Phase II of the plan, an indoor practice facility.
With a $7M lead donation from Philanthropist T. Denny Sanford, the University will look at a variety of plan options, but the initial consideration is a seasonal dome facility. This would be placed over the current Dan Beacom Track Complex and DSU soccer field, providing space for an indoor track/training environment from November through April.
This facility would be of particular benefit for the indoor track & field athletes, who would no longer need to train outdoors or run in the hallways of the Fieldhouse. The structure will also impact student-athletes in cross country, football, softball, and other sports such as soccer and drone racing, both as a practice facility and as a site for indoor meets. This versatility will benefit the recruitment and retention of student-athletes, Dittman said.
The community will also benefit from an indoor facility. Community groups and teams would be able to host various events such as youth tournaments, meets and games. It could also provide a walking track for community members in the winter.
Inflatable domes, or air supported structures, use air pressure to keep the dome inflated. If DSU moves forward with the dome option, it could be ready for use in late 2025. At 327 feet wide, almost 600 feet wide, and 100 feet tall, it would be the largest dome facility in the United States.