BY JEREMY HOECK
VERMILLION — As work continues on a number of athletic-related facility updates at the University of South Dakota, the two biggest projects will be turned over to contractors on Monday.
Mortenson Construction, based in Minneapolis, will assume control of the grounds for a $66 million project at USD that includes a 6,000-seat basketball and volleyball arena, an outdoor track and soccer complex, and an academic laboratory.
That doesn’t, however, mean that Mortenson will have workers on site Monday to begin moving ground, according to USD athletic director David Herbster.
“Anything on our end that we need to remove and get ready, we’ve done that,” he said Thursday.
The timetable for construction remains on schedule, according to Lorin Wilcox, the project manager and building engineer for USD’s Facilities Management staff. The track and soccer complex is set for a 2015 completion, while the arena will be ready for use by 2016.
“What they choose to do with that (Monday) is up to them,” Wilcox said. “We’re more concerned with the end date, which they’ll meet.”
The bids for the track and soccer complex were due in Pierre on Thursday, and the first bid packages for the arena were sent out Thursday as well, Wilcox said.
From there, Mortensen will sort through the bids and award subcontractors for both projects.
Those are not the only athletic-related updates underway at USD, however, Herbster said:
• New metal football bleachers on the west end of the DakotaDome are being installed, with a completion date of Aug. 15,
• The lockers in the soccer and swimming/diving locker rooms were replaced,
• The DakotaDome pool has been off-line since June so it can be resurfaced, Herbster said, and
• A new Daktronics scoreboard will be installed out at the main softball field.
“These are upgrades that have been on our books for a while,” Herbster said, “but there will always be a priority.”
USD has tried to tackle smaller projects every year, he added. In 2011, for example, the permanent seats in the DakotaDome were replaced and a new basketball court was purchased.
Many of the projects, though, such as the new locker rooms and resurfaced pool are not ones the general public would notice, Herbster said.