- Associated Press - Tuesday, May 13, 2014

PIERRE, S.D. (AP) - South Dakota’s Board of Regents approved design plans Tuesday for a new 19,359-seat football stadium at South Dakota State University.

The board voted unanimously in favor of the plans. State lawmakers had approved the $65 million project during the 2014 session.

The plans have not changed substantially since the board reviewed them late last year. The total amount of square footage has been trimmed by 7 percent to about 161,000 square feet.

It will be built on the site of the existing Coughlin Alumni Stadium, which is over 50 years old. The current stadium lacks modern amenities and adequate seating.

Plans for the new structure include a space for retail operations and the University Police Department. Synthetic turf will replace the grass field.

A 12,000-square-foot club room will be used on game days and for other events throughout the year. The plans also include green spaces and $150,000 for landscaping.

University funds will make up $2 million of the expenses. Private and foundation funds will cover $27 million. And $36 million in bonds will be issued and repaid with stadium revenue.

About 10 percent of the budget is put aside for unforeseen costs, said Monte Kramer, system vice president of finance and administration.

“There is potential there for cost escalation,” he said, because the construction will take place over the course of two years.

The old stadium will still be used during various stages of construction.

The board has yet to approve a final bid for construction, which is expected to begin this summer. Construction of the east and south grandstands is expected to finish by September 2015. The full project will be complete by September 2016.

The University of South Dakota in Vermillion is also moving forward with a new athletic complex - a $66 million project which includes an arena.

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