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Record donation of $15 million will complete Bison indoor football project

Foundation established by NDSU graduate Tom Blattner will allow facility to be done in one phase.

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The Nodak Insurance Company Football Performance Complex is expected to break ground in July of 2021. NDSU Athletics photo

FARGO — The We B Giving Foundation has turned the North Dakota State indoor football practice facility that is currently under construction into the We B Done with Major Fundraising. That’s what a $15 million gift will do.

The single largest one-time commitment in the NDSU athletic department history has suddenly turned the two-phase Nodak Insurance Company Football Performance Complex into a single phase. The private family foundation, called We B Giving and established by Tom and Dawn Blattner, turned the $35 million project for phase one to a completed $50 million building, of which all funds have been privately raised.

Tom Blattner is a 1996 NDSU graduate. His LinkedIn bio lists him as vice president, risk management for Blattner Holding Company in Avon, Minn. Blattner Energy, a family business, is a construction company also based in Avon that bills itself as a leading installer of renewable energy, such as wind towers.

He did not play football.

“I know NDSU football was a big part of his undergraduate experience, with friends and former roommates who were football players,” said NDSU athletic director Matt Larsen.


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The interior of the Nodak Insurance Company Football Performance Complex looking to the north, with overhead doors on the east side providing a pathway to the outdoor practice field. NDSU Athletics photo

The additional funds will go toward completing a locker room, team meeting room, athletic training space and equipment alongside the indoor and outdoor fields currently under construction south of the Sanford Health Athletic Complex.

“Having been part of NDSU and Bison athletics for over 25 years and experiencing firsthand the culture and character within the institution, the players and fan base along with the history of success both on and off the field,” Blattner said in a statement, “we have been called to invest in continuing that legacy.”

Expected completion of the entire project is next October. The complex will include two 120-yard fields, both indoor and outdoor, lighting, camera platforms, scoreboards, clocks, sound systems and a storage warehouse.

The facility will also be used by soccer, baseball, softball and golf teams. Most of the project should be completed by the time NDSU starts football practice next fall. Larsen said NDSU still needs legislative approvals for the other amenities.

“Essentially, it will all kind of run from one (phase) into the next,” he said. “It allows us to keep on going.”


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The north side of the Nodak Insurance Company Football Performance Complex. NDSU Athletics photo

Blattner was already a major donor to the facility, which was announced in April along with Gate City Bank, Scheels All Sports, Team Makers and alums Bob Yaggie, Bruce Yaggie and Terry Hanson.

“I think it speaks to the power of the institution, the power of the athletic programs and the passion,” Larsen said. “From Day 1, they understood success requires investment. Look at how you grow an athletic program and it’s done through external investment like this $15 million gift.”

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The interior of the Nodak Insurance Company Football Performance Complex. NDSU Athletics photo

Jeff would like to dispel the notion he was around when Johannes Gutenberg invented the printing press, but he is on his third decade of reporting with Forum Communications. The son of a reporter and an English teacher, and the brother of a reporter, Jeff has worked at the Jamestown Sun, Bismarck Tribune and since 1990 The Forum, where he's covered North Dakota State athletics since 1995.
Jeff has covered all nine of NDSU's Division I FCS national football titles and has written three books: "Horns Up," "North Dakota Tough" and "Covid Kids." He is the radio host of "The Golf Show with Jeff Kolpack" April through August.
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