ABERDEEN, S.D. – Northern State University’s collaborative project with the South Dakota School for the Blind and Visually Impaired has already received pledges for donations totaling more than $25 million.
The figure was announced Saturday at Northern Night, with an official kick-off of the NSU-SDSBVI Educational Impact Campaign. The campaign seeks to raise $45 million total for three connected projects: construction of a new School for the Blind and Visually Impaired; NSU’s athletic and recreation fields project; and an on-campus regional sports complex.
“This overwhelming support shows just how much enthusiasm there is for these projects within the community and around the entire region,” said South Dakota Board of Regents member Jim Thares. “We’re so fortunate to have the support of such generous donors.”
Thares and his wife, Tracy, will co-chair the campaign, along with NSU President Dr. Tim Downs and Mary Downs.
Dr. Tim Downs said the campaign adds more positive momentum at NSU, including the recently renovated Johnson Fine Arts Center, the new Wolves Memorial Suites, two new residence halls in the works and the Regional Science Education Center breaking ground next spring.
“It’s an exciting time for Northern and for our partner, the School for the Blind and Visually Impaired,” Downs said. “This campaign will create state-of-the-art facilities for both of our campuses, enhancing the student experience for years to come.”
The three projects received approval from the South Dakota Board of Regents this fall. The Regents approved a preliminary facility statement and facility program plan for the new SDSBVI, and a facility program plan for the athletic and recreation fields project. They also approved a preliminary facility statement for the sports complex, which will include a softball field and football stadium. The stadium, which is projected to seat 8,000, will be named after Dacotah Bank, a major project investor.
The estimated project timeline is as follows:
▪ Fall 2018: NSU’s Jerde Hall will be demolished.
▪ Fall 2018: Construction will start on the new SDSBVI; anticipated completion is fall 2019.
▪ Fall 2019: The current SDSBVI will be demolished.
▪ Fall 2019/spring 2020: Construction will begin on the regional sports complex/Dacotah Bank Stadium, with completion expected no later than 2022.
Each part of this multi-tiered campaign relies on the others, and none of it is expected to require legislative funding. Committee members have preliminarily met with city officials on an informal and individual basis.
“Northern State has always had a mutually beneficial and supportive relationship with the city of Aberdeen, and city participation was critical to the financing of Swisher Field and the sports complex we now use there,” Downs said. “Mayor Levsen has an understanding of how this plan will benefit the city and the entire area, and he has invited us to work with the City Council and city manager to explore opportunities to assist the effort.”
The Educational Impact Campaign Committee includes SDSBVI Superintendent Dr. Marjorie Kaiser, NSU Athletic Director Josh Moon, NSU Foundation President and CEO Todd Jordre, NSU Foundation Vice President for Development Jon Olson, and numerous project stakeholders.
Committee members were also announced at Northern Night. More than 550 people attended NSU’s annual scholarship gala, held Saturday at the Dakota Event Center.
“This has always been a scholarship-based event, and scholarships will continue to play a key role for the university – case in point, this week’s announcement from Sanford Health,” Jordre said. “But we’re thrilled that we were also able to announce this campaign at an event attended by Northern’s biggest supporters.”
About Northern State University
Northern State University is a regional university that offers outstanding academics and exceptional extracurricular activities at an affordable price on a safe, welcoming campus. Northern State recently announced its Educational Impact Campaign, with a goal of raising $45 million for a new South Dakota School for the Blind and Visually Impaired, new athletic and recreation fields, and an on-campus regional sports complex. Once the campaign is complete, NSU will be the recipient of more than $100 million in privately funded building projects and scholarships within a decade. To learn more, visit NSU Admissions.