Bison Sports Arena renovation continues
Importance to Fargo-Moorhead community emphasized
Published: Thursday, May 3, 2012
Updated: Thursday, May 3, 2012 16:05
As renovation and addition of the Bison Sports Arena continues, department members and contributors have high hopes for the impact of the project on the community.
A major sponsor, Sanford Health was recently recognized as the first campus community partner of the university. Sanford, along with major contributors such as Scheels and Stop-N-Go, found the Building the Competitive Edge for Bison Athletics to be an important project that would benefit the community as a whole.
Vice President for Public Affairs and Chief of Staff of Sanford Health Mike Begeman is actively involved in the contributions and scholarships the institution is involved with.
“It’s an investment to the community but also an investment to NDSU,” Begeman said. “I think the success of the Bison sports programs are very important, and it’s a viable part of the community and a viable part of the region.”
The construction includes the production of the Shelly Ellig Indoor Track and Field Facility, which is currently in progress and will include a 200-meter, eight-lane track and practice lanes for jumping and field events.
The BSA will be renovated as well, named the Sanford Health Athletic Complex. It will include seating for 5,700 people, a two-court basketball practice facility, human performance facilities and an academic center for athletes.
According to Associate Athletic Director for Development Amy Ruley, the need for these for these facilities is the driving force behind the project, and the timing is right for athletics.
“Now that we have the league established, we’re getting to know our opponents better, understanding the opponents and the rivalries in the league,” Ruley said. “I think it’s great timing to update the facility since we’ve made that transition into a new league and new level. This is kind of that last step to get the facility where we need it to be to make it all ft together.”
Begeman backed up Ruley’s statement by emphasizing the significance of athletics to the university and surrounding community.
“We feel that athletics is the front force to the institutions,” Begeman said. “Obviously, academics are the main reason kids go to school … but we feel it’s sometimes important to make sure that the athletic programs are successful. High-quality academics and high-quality success of the university and sports kind of go hand-in-hand.”
Begeman also states that the facility affects a large portion of students on campus, not only athletes. Sanford analyzes investments based on three criteria: health-related causes, education and economic development. NDSU meets these criteria as a recipient, according to Begeman.
“We feel that thriving communities have high-quality academics, and the success of colleges and universities such as NDSU are very important to the community,” he said. “The investment in education is very important to us, and we look at ways to help in scholarships … we feel that it’s an important place to invest in our communities. Especially in Fargo, where we have a very specific presence with the medical center, and we really enjoy our relationship with all of the areas we contribute to.”
Ruley also says the goal is to create a more positive experience for attending fans. There will be more comfortable, chair-back seating, and will provide an environment where students can “really rock and rock the games.”
The BSA opened as the new athletic complex in 1970 and has been used for a variety of events since then. It was originally built to accommodate only men’s athletics. With the growth of the athletics on campus, additional training space is needed for both men’s and women’s athletics.
“Before we had the Fargodome, all the circuses, all the trade shows, the concerts – it was the big facility in town, so any of those activities were held in here,” Ruley said. “It was probably open 24-7, 365, and things were going on in here all the time. So it’s showing its wear and tear.”
The campaign is still seeking funds to fully complete the project. Since the project is run solely by private funds, Ruley says it is fortunate to have a generous community that is willing to contribute.
“It is not a question of funding being cut from the university,” she said. “We’ve set our goal, and we’ve said we’re going after it. It is a top priority, and we’re really out making the push in the community and trying to finish as much as