NDSU gets first look at renovated SDSU football stadium on Saturday
FARGO — North Dakota State senior offensive guard Austin Kuhnert, from Sioux Falls, S.D., said a charter bus loaded with friends and family will originate in the nearby Sioux Falls communities of Rowena and Brandon before making its way north to Brookings for the Dakota Marker game against South Dakota State
It’s an all-day road trip on Saturday, Nov. 4, that is sure to have its share of laughs.
“I’ve always known about this game growing up … I knew it was always a big-time game,” Kuhnert said. “I just know it was a big decision when I came up here from South Dakota. A lot of people disagreed with the decision, so I feel like it’s payback.”
Kuhnert’s hope at payback will come at the newly-renovated Dana J. Dykhouse Stadium, which was partially completed the last time NDSU played in Brookings two years ago.
Gone is the old Coughlin-Alumni Stadium with a large set of concrete stands on the west side that looked like they were being patched with a knife and putty in many spots. The grass field that was nice in September but by October or November was an eyesore is now an updated artificial surface.
It’s now a $65 million modern facility that has suites, a large meeting room called Club 71 and a press box as good or better than any in the Missouri Valley Football Conference. Youngstown State is perhaps an equal challenger with the Fargodome also in the conversation.
“From a game day experience for our fan base, we went from a tough stadium to one of the top at our level and probably better than many others at a level higher than us,” said SDSU Athletic Director Justin Sell. “From a premium standpoint, with the ability to do some things we’ve never done and 19,000 seats, it’s been absolutely incredible.”
Dykhouse Stadium is just part of a large infusion of construction on campus. The indoor practice and track and field facility cost $32 million and a student-athlete center adjacent to the stadium cost $8 million. In all, that’s $105 for athletics alone.
Sell said multiple gifts in the $10 million range made it happen.
“Much like NDSU, with a land grant school you’re able to stretch so much larger from a statewide perspective and getting people excited in that vision,” he said. “That whole complex is kind of mind boggling to get it done in Brookings, S.D.”
Sell has been at SDSU since 2009 when projects like a new stadium were barely part of any kind of master plan. The football offices for the football staff, for instance, were in a couple of trailers outside the stadium.
“It’s fun in my position to walk donors into a building and blow those expectations away,” he said. “It makes them feel good about their investment.”