Minnesota State University could contract a sports dome builder in Minnesota to erect a dome on its Mankato campus – that is, if students approve the project in an upcoming referendum.
Minnesota State, home to over 15,000 students, currently lacks an indoor turf facility on campus. Student Affairs VP David Jones says this omission is “one of the deficits we have as a university.”
“The ability to extend turf sports into the winter period will really provide an advantage to students recreationally, to be more healthy, as well as provide a nice opportunity for our athletic teams, who perform at a high rate,” Jones explained regarding the project.
The dome would also be open to the broader Mankato community, which shows broad support for sports and recreation in general, having voted to approve the extension of a local sales tax to finance the construction of more facilities in the community.
However, the cost of building an all-season sports dome in Minnesota is no small sum. Although domes are more cost-effective than brick-and-mortar facilities, a multi-use dome on the MSU campus could cost upwards of four million dollars – half of which would be paid by the student body. Because of this, the university is putting the issue to the student body in an upcoming referendum.
The referendum will ask whether students wish to have $0.83 of their tuition per credit (to a maximum of $10 per semester) go towards funding the project. The other half of the funding would come from the university’s revenue funds.
MeMe Cronin, student body president at MSU, believes the initiative is something that most students will vote to support.
“A lot of students think it would be a really cool initiative to have on campus that they’d be able to utilize a turf field during the winter since we are in such a cold state for most of the year.”
However, Cronin also admits there are detractors to the project.
“At the same time, a lot of students aren’t interested in paying another fee, especially for the students who don’t get out and utilize campus rec facilities already.”
Although the university lacks an indoor turf, it does have numerous other existing indoor recreation facilities, including an indoor pool, racquetball courts, rock climbing wall and gymnasium.
Should the motion pass, the university could work with a sports dome builder in Minnesota to have the facility up and running by October of 2019.