Facility Friday: Wellness Center Aquatics Expansion, Football Practice Facility, $5.3M Multipurpose HS Stadium

Tabatha Wethal Headshot
U Of Sd Coyotes Pool Rendering
Courtesy of U. of South Dakota Athletics, RDG Planning & Design

The University of South Dakota broke ground April 19 on its Wellness Center expansion that will include the future home of the Coyote swimming and diving program beginning in the fall of 2024.

The Coyotes' new competition pool is a piece of a larger $31.25 million expansion project that adds on an estimated 45,800 square feet to the south side of the Wellness Center.

Additional parts of the project include a leisure pool with a warmer temperature than the competition pool, an aquatic obstacle course, a hot tub, a steam room, athletic locker rooms, expanded wellness locker rooms, meet management rooms, coaches' offices and lifeguard rooms.

The state-of-the-art 50-meter competition pool will feature two movable bulkheads that enable the pool to be divided into three separate zones. U Of Sd Coyotes Pool Rendering3Courtesy of U. of South Dakota Athletics, RDG Planning & Design

The space also includes seating for 400 patrons for a better viewing experience for all fans.

"The new competition pool will allow the team to train at the same time on a more consistent basis, which will help foster a stronger team culture," USD head swimming and diving coach Jason Mahowald said. "The addition is an overall investment in their team, and it will make the athletes' overall experience at USD better." — University of South Dakota Athletics 

The University of Texas at Austin shared plans this month for a brand-new football practice facility.

UT announced it will begin construction on the new space by the end of this year.

The practice facility will replace the Steve Hicks School of Social Work, which is located on San Jacinto Boulevard in the same neighborhood as DKR Texas Memorial Stadium, Moody Center and the Longhorns' new basketball practice facility.

The new space will eventually replace the old practice bubble at Denius Fields, with outdoor and indoor football fields.

UT's athletic department said the upgrade is desperately needed as the Longhorns get ready to join the SEC in 2024.

The new facility will likely include a 100-yard outdoor field and a 100-yard indoor field.

Renderings show the indoor facility across from Moody Center along Robert Dedmon Drive. The outdoor fields will be located along San Jacinto Boulevard. The Steve Hicks School of Social Work will be moved elsewhere on campus. — KVUE-TV 

The Fond du Lac (Wis.) School District held a groundbreaking ceremony last week for its brand new athletic stadium.

The construction of the new $5.3 million stadium will be complete by August 1, in time for the fall sports season.

The new stadium will be right next to Fond du Lac High School and will replace Fruth Field on West Ninth Street, where the former Goodrich High School stood before closing in 2001.

The school board has debated building a new facility as far back as 2016, when the board proposed a $2 million project to improve Fruth Field that would have added turf and expanded it to hold soccer matches.

Fruth Field has long been the home for Fond du Lac athletics, but the grass field took a beating from flooding — it is located near the east branch of the Fond du Lac River — and regular wear and tear from both the high school's and St. Mary Springs Academy's football teams.

In 2021, St. Mary Springs Academy built its own $850,000 on-campus turf field, replacing its practice field.

Fond du Lac School Board President Mark Henschel said the flooding concerns were a factor in the district's decision to build the new stadium at the high school.

Fond du Lac High School athletic director Arik Gunderson said the new turf stadium will be a huge change for the district.

Although Gunderson said its primary purpose is an athletic facility, the stadium will give "a ton" of opportunities for students at the high school.

Fruth Field was built solely for football, but he said the new facility will allow the school to host other events such as track meets and soccer matches.

Additionally, its location on campus means not only that the school won't have to bus students to and from Fruth Field, but it can also be used for gym classes and by the school's marching band. — Fond du Lac Reporter

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