USD may plan for Dome roof, B-school

USD may plan for Dome roof, B-school The University of South Dakota is one step closer to getting a new roof on the DakotaDome and a new business school building, according to action taken last week by the South Dakota Board of Regents.

At their regular business meeting on the USD campus in Vermillion, the Regents approved program plans for the two facilities.

"The roof of the DakotaDome has outlived its life expectancy," said Regents President Harvey C. Jewett, IV, Aberdeen. "The Dome was constructed in 1979. At that time a fabric roof could be expected to last 20 years. When the Regents first considered the roof rehabilitation in December of 1998, we agreed to seek legislative authorization without committing to a specific option. We are convinced that a permanent roof is the best investment in the long run."

USD President James W. Abbott presented the Regents with five options, ranging from no roof to another fabric roof to a permanent long span roof. The option of removing the roof entirely would be the most expensive because it would entail constructing another building to house basketball and indoor track.

The South Dakota Legislature has appropriated $4 million toward replacement of the roof. The remainder of the cost, estimated at over $6 million, will be financed through the South Dakota Building Authority. Annual payments to retire the financing will be generated from energy savings realized by the state and USD, general activity fees paid by the students, and gate receipts from athletic and other events held in the Dome.

The Regents authorized the appointment of a building committee to oversee the DakotaDome project. It also authorized a building committee to proceed with planning the new business school.

The USD School of Business is currently housed in Patterson Hall. Constructed in 1957, it was designed to house 20 faculty and 200 students. It presently houses 38 faculty, 479 undergraduates and 176 graduate students. "The success of the USD Business School has caused it to outgrow its current facility. Both the USD administration and the Regents have every reason to expect that interest in business degrees will continue to increase. It makes sense to create a facility that is able to keep pace with the changes in delivery and content of business education in an era of electronic commerce," said Regents Executive Director Robert T. Tad Perry.

The new School of Business building will be constructed in a vacant area near the School of Law. When the business school vacates Patterson, it will be renovated for use by another academic department.

The USD Foundation will raise funds to be dedicated to the construction costs for the new building. The South Dakota Legislature must provide final authorization of the project.

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