- Associated Press - Wednesday, June 11, 2014

VERMILLION, S.D. (AP) - The University of South Dakota is preparing to start work on a $66 million project that includes a new arena.

The school has scheduled a groundbreaking ceremony for Tuesday afternoon, south of the DakotaDome. Construction work is to start in earnest in late July, athletic director David Herbster told the Argus Leader newspaper (http://argusne.ws/1n5YAOb ).

The heart of the project is a 6,000-seat arena for basketball and volleyball. It will be connected to the DakotaDome by a science, health and research lab that will include classrooms, clinical areas, office space and a weight room. An outdoor soccer and track facility also is planned.

The state Board of Regents approved the project late last year. It should wrap up before the start of the 2016-17 academic year.

“The key is that we’re going to have the track completed in 2015, before the Summit League outdoor meet we’re hosting in 2016,” Herbster said. “And we’re going to have the arena operational before the 2016 school year. That’s on a standard timeline. If we get good weather, they could both be done sooner than that.”