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1979; 2001 roof replacement; 2019–2020 renovations. 1100 N. Dakota St.
  • (Photograph by Michelle Dennis)

The DakotaDome was one of the first multipurpose domes in the nation. Built on northwest end of the University of South Dakota’s Vermillion campus, the 10,000-seat athletic complex houses courts for basketball, volleyball, racquetball, and tennis, as well as a 25-meter pool and an eight-lane, 200-meter track. A full-sized football field is created when the floor is covered with artificial turf. Parking lots ring the facility on its east side. The DakotaDome hosts many sporting events each year as well as the annual Dakota Farm Show (a regional show of farm machinery and displays), various trade shows, concerts, Native American pow wows, and other activities.

The DakotaDome is the largest facility of its kind in the state and the only indoor football arena in the region. The cost of the original concrete and steel building was $8.2 million, and its most distinctive feature was the air-supported roof made of Teflon-coated fiberglass, a type pioneered in 1970 by engineer David H. Geiger, with his design for the United States pavilion at Expo ‘70 in Osaka, Japan. The roof, however, collapsed twice due to heavy snow, first in 1979 and then again in 1982. Due to the ongoing concern over its stability, in 2001 the university replaced the roof with a $13.7 million rigid steel structure.

In 2019, the university began a $26 million renovation. The first phase focuses on the Dome’s west side, with the addition of two new main entrances, a football locker room and team meeting spaces, new permanent and club seating (including ten suites and fifteen loge boxes), concessions and services, and upgraded lighting, sound, and operational systems. Future phases will include upgrades to existing locker rooms and offices, additional training areas, new playing surfaces for football and track, and a modern concourse and fan amenities on the east side. The scale of this renovation indicates the ever-growing role of intercollegiate athletics in campus development.


Boettcher, Bryan. “DakotaDome Renovation Underway.” The South Dakotan 14, no. 1 (Spring/Summer 2019): 22-23.

“The DakotaDome.” University of South Dakota. Accessed February 13, 2020.

Paulus, Sarah. “DakotaDome Hits 30-Year Milestone.” The South Dakotan 4, no. 2 (Fall 2009): 20-21.

Writing Credits

Michelle L. Dennis



  • 1978

  • 2001

    Roof replaced
  • 2019


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Michelle L. Dennis, "DakotaDome", [Vermillion, South Dakota], SAH Archipedia, eds. Gabrielle Esperdy and Karen Kingsley, Charlottesville: UVaP, 2012—,

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