Northern State uses research, advanced planning for stadium
ABERDEEN, S.D. (AP) — The plans for Northern State’s new sports complex didn’t come together haphazardly.
They also didn’t come together all at once.
Northern athletic director Josh Moon and his team have traveled the region, met with professionals, and evolved their plans since the original announcement of the future Dacotah Bank Stadium.
And that’s how it’s supposed to work, Moon told the Aberdeen American News .
“We started with a preliminary idea,” he said. “And we follow the process. You have this idea, you have donors, you hire the architect and keep building off that as the process goes. That’s how it should work. That’s the process that’s going to lead to the most successful outcomes.”
Moon and his team took donor-provided trips to peer schools like Missouri Western, Abilene Christian, South Dakota State, Southwest Minnesota State, Minot State, Dickinson State, Colorado School of Mines, University of Sioux Falls and Augustana. Stadiums were toured, athletic departments were interviewed and dos and don’ts were gleaned.
“Each of those stadiums has some things that are done very well,” Moon said. “Somewhere maybe I wouldn’t have done that. (The schools) were very open and gracious to (tell us) what we’d have done here or there. That’s kind of the thing — you learn little things about, ‘Hey, the radios from the coach’s box, the glass is too thick so they don’t work.’ Or, ‘Our site holders really like to have operable windows, or some connection to the outside,’ because some places have no connection to the stadium, just glass.”
As the Wolves group gathered data of this nature, Moon said the preliminary plans predictably shifted.
Perhaps most notably, at least to the Aberdeen community at large, was the request to take over a block-and-a-half stretch of 15th Avenue Southeast for the sake of the complex’s permanent construction.
The closure request would allow for a contiguous sports complex from the Barnett Center through to the football stadium and softball field, as well as significant parking in the northwest corner of the property and a green space in the southwest quadrant.
Moon and Northern State University president Tim Downs acknowledge that it’s a big ask. Considering the school is already making a number of significant requests of the city, they aren’t taking it lightly.
“You start looking at this, looking at options, and you ask, ‘What’s the best thing for the next 100 years of Northern and Aberdeen?’ This plan makes sense,” Moon said.
The big — and reasonable — arguments against the closure include the question: Why give all this for a football field that gets used five or six times a year? Yes, there’s a softball field, too, but are Northern State softball games so overrun today that they need a move from Moccasin Creek Softball Complex? Is that reason enough?
Moon and Downs would respond that, no, it’s not. That’s why the plans for Dacotah Bank Stadium include much more home Wolves football games.
“We’re working through that right now, but that’s part of the design,” Moon said. “We know for sure we want high school football games there. There may be potential for marching band activities. Intramural activities — obviously a lighted facility (helps) — different campus and community things, as we develop the spaces of the interior, maybe even corporate events. With the size of the stadium, could you have concerts? Potentially a lot of different things you could look at.
″(The architect) said it best: It’s a four-season facility, not a five- or six-game facility. We want it to be a 365 facility. We want it to be a driver for this community and this region.”
Information from: Aberdeen American News, http://www.aberdeennews.com