- Associated Press - Monday, March 10, 2014

VERMILLION, S.D. (AP) - The University of South Dakota has set May 12 as the date to break ground for $66 million worth of new athletic facilities.

The heart of the project is a 6,000-seat arena for basketball and volleyball. The facility will be connected to the existing DakotaDome by a Science, Health and Research Laboratory.

The state Board of Regents approved the arena project late last year and also gave USD the go-ahead for a $7 million outdoor soccer and track facility.

The entire project is to wrap up before the start of the 2016-17 academic year, the Yankton Daily Press & Dakotan reported (https://bit.ly/1cpNGCr ).

“Having that (ground-breaking) day, with all the work we’ve done for the last three years, come to fruition and be able to see the progress, it’s rewarding,” athletic director David Herbster said.

The university is still about $9 million short in fundraising, but the administration is working to secure a handful of million-dollar donations, according to Herbster.

“When you’re asking someone to sign over a million bucks, it takes a while,” he said.

The new basketball arena will help with recruiting, women’s basketball coach Amy Williams said.

“That’s something kids look at in highly competitive recruiting battles,” she said. “They see a new film room, a locker room, a new practice court.”

USD also has had scheduling issues at the Dakotadome because of the November overlap between the end of the football season and the start of basketball.

“Not having to schedule our first couple weeks on the road every year will be so nice,” Williams said.

Within three years, USD will be able to boast some of the region’s best athletic and academic facilities, Herbster said.

“Now we have something to work toward,” he said.


Information from: Yankton Press and Dakotan, https://www.yankton.net/

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