The giant sigh of relief from the Coyote community could be felt across the state.
In the words of one official, “Make it happen.”
Wednesday’s decision by the South Dakota Board of Regents to approve the facility statements by USD and South Dakota State not only greenlights both projects, but it clears the air on eight months worth of waiting.
Before getting the official OK, athletic department officials from both Division I schools could not actively seek private donations, they could only talk in generalities and share their vision.
With the permission granted, what’s next?
In the case of USD, which plans to build a basketball/volleyball arena and renovate the DakotaDome, it will now form a building committee.
Members of the group will examine cost estimates, determine the best location and conduct market feasibility studies — all with an eye on the original plan. The budget for the Facility Program Plan will be $125,000.
At the same time, USD will look to hire an architect. Athletic director David Sayler said Wednesday that he will look to begin those interviews within the coming weeks.
Regardless of the head-scratching delay by the Board of Regents, the entire process is probably a 4-5 year endeavor. In other words, don’t expect to see the new arena up and running before 2014-15.
Once the two projects are complete, USD will then turn its attention toward the next two plans — an outdoor track and soccer field complex in Vermillion.
With everything on his plate for the coming years, Sayler summed up the situation this way.
“We’ve got a long way to go, but at least the process is starting now. We look forward to the challenges.”