ADVERTISEMENT

ADVERTISEMENT

NDSU basketball arena on track, with practice facility scheduled to open in October

FARGO-Workers doing the construction and renovation of the Sanford Health Athletic Complex on the North Dakota State campus have not found anything akin to Al Capone's vault. But they did stumble upon damage caused by athletes lifting weights on ...

070915.S.FF_.BSARENOVATION.7_12867171.JPG
Construction crews continue work on the Sanford Health Athletic Complex on the campus of North Dakota State University in Fargo on Wednesday, July 8, 2015. Nick Wagner / The Forum

FARGO-Workers doing the construction and renovation of the Sanford Health Athletic Complex on the North Dakota State campus have not found anything akin to Al Capone's vault. But they did stumble upon damage caused by athletes lifting weights on the second floor. The concrete was no longer level, with a depression that bowed an I-beam holding it up from the first floor. "Concrete is flexible," said Jeff Pfingsten, construction project manager at NDSU. It will be an easy fix in the $41 million project that appears to be on schedule and on budget. The Scheels Center main section will be home to the Bison men's and women's basketball and wrestling teams with amenities that are expected to bring the program up to snuff in Division I athletics. Currently, the outer walls of the bleachers are encompassing what will be a 5,800-seat arena that is expected to open early in the 2016 basketball season. The basketball practice facility, however, is tabbed to beat that opening by a year. Athletic director Matt Larsen said the hope is to have the men's and women's teams in there by October. Currently, the men practice in a warehouse in north Fargo and the women are at Bentson Bunker Fieldhouse. "The contractor has done a good job of separating this part and making it operational," Larsen said. "This is massive. When you compare it to the Summit League, it will be near the top or at the top of anybody else." A few on-the-run revisions have been made to the project, such as a "fueling station" near the weight training part of the complex. It's an area where athletes can get quality food and drinks on the run and will also include a "teaching kitchen" where players can be taught how to cook, what to cook and what to buy. "Some day, the hope is to have a nutritionist on staff," Larsen said. Changes are also being made to an academic area to make it larger. The only sports that won't have a locker room in the building are football and volleyball. About the only remnants from the old Bison Sports Arena are paintings of two large Bison on the northwest corner wall and the old orange and brown seats of the upper concourse. They currently are set to be part of the new arena, although Larsen would like to see that plan change. "It's almost to the point of being unrecognizable from what it used to be," he said.

070915.S.FF_.BSARENOVATION.3_12867163.JPG
Construction crews continue work on the Sanford Health Athletic Complex on the campus of North Dakota State University in Fargo on Wednesday, July 8, 2015. Nick Wagner / The Forum

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.
What To Read Next
Fargo rallied from a two-goal deficit to open a two-game series against the Storm with a road win on Wednesday at the Comerica Center in Kearney, Neb.
WDAY Sports+ is live this Thursday, January 26th at 6:00 PM, with our Game of the Week between the Breckenridge Cowboys and the DGF Rebels
Hot Mic with Dom Izzo from Thursday, January 26th, 2023.
NDSU officials calling for North Dakota State athletic department to receive $200K less from university funds