ABERDEEN, S.D. – Renovations taking place at the Northern State University Barnett Center this summer will benefit Wolves athletic teams, enhance the experience of fans and provide a state-of-the-art space for the entire region.
The facility upgrades will also usher in a new era for Wolves Athletics – with the recent hire of head men’s basketball coach, Saul Phillips, and last year’s hiring of head women’s basketball coach, Paula Krueger.
The projects include a new in-ground wood floor in Wachs Arena; a new display of conference and season awards; and even a brand new, center-hung digital videoboard/scoreboard. Together, all of that work adds up to one top-notch facility.
“With Dacotah Bank Stadium set to be constructed adjacent to the BC, we wanted to make sure the facilities matched in terms of quality and fan experience,” said NSU Director of Athletics Josh Moon. “We’re creating one connected, first-rate sports complex, and we’re excited about what this means for our student-athletes, our fans and everyone who uses the BC.”
New flooring will also be beneficial to NSU volleyball and wrestling as well as men’s and women’s basketball. Krueger said it’s very important to every program at Northern to provide the best experience possible for student-athletes.
“These upgrades, along with all of the other growth on campus, greatly enhance the student-athlete experience,” Krueger said.
The current wood flooring was installed more than 20 years ago. The NSU Foundation and Athletics are exploring the possibility of selling custom memorabilia items made from the outgoing parquet wood floor.
Community Support Unparalleled
It’s also important to once again have the support of area donors.
“The support of Aberdeen and the surrounding communities is unparalleled,” Krueger said. “I have experienced the support as a student-athlete, assistant coach and head coach – there is simply nothing like it. I literally get goosebumps talking to recruits about what it means to play at NSU and the support they are given as student-athletes on and off campus.”
The new court and center-hung scoreboard, generate excitement and show a commitment to providing the best for student-athletes, Krueger said.
“The video board on the scoreboard will allow us to do things we haven’t done before, such as watching a season highlight video in our arena,” she said.
The scoreboard will also enhance the fan experience at games.
“The center-hung scoreboard gives that big-time arena feeling,” Krueger said. “The opportunity for replays, hype videos and crowd interaction become unlimited. We want to generate an atmosphere that tells fans and students there is no better place to be on Friday and Saturday night than Wachs Arena!”
Positive Impact on Region
NSU President Dr. Tim Downs pointed out that improvements to the Barnett Center will also have a positive impact on community and regional events held at the facility, including State B high school basketball tournaments, the community job fair, and junior high and high school science and math competitions.
“We’re thrilled about what this project will mean for our students, but we’re also excited that it will be such a benefit to all of northeast South Dakota,” Downs said. “It’s another way that Northern can foster partnerships within the community and region.”
Funding for the projects come from a combination of university funds and private donations.
“Even though we’re in the midst of a game changing capital campaign, our supporters have once again stepped up. They specifically asked to support indoor sports,” explained Moon. “Once again proving the support for our university is second to none.”
Wachs Arena will be closed over the summer during renovations. Youth sports camps and other events normally held in the facility will take place elsewhere on campus. For more information, contact NSU Athletics: 605-626-3336.
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 $55 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.