Sydney Brummel – Staff Writer
Over two-hundred people attended an open house with the city council on the evening of February 1. Sioux Center residents and others interested in the future of the city stopped by the library to learn about council’s plans for installing an indoor dome sports facility on the north side of town.
“This night is all about listening and hearing feedback,” City Communications Coordinator Maggie Landegent said. “It’s been an excellent night in terms of hearing the residents.”
Back in 2018, Sioux Center residents took a survey ranking potential recreation investments for the city.
“The city has been interested in providing more all-season recreation options for the community, especially after residents ranked ‘indoor recreations facilities’ as the #1 future recreation investment,” Landegent said.
The dome sports facility project will involve a large dome structure approximately 450 x 250 ft. with a maximum height of 75 ft. The building will cover an artificial turf flooring. This space will allow for year-round community access to a variety of outdoor athletics such as football, soccer, baseball and softball. There would also be a front entry building attached to the dome, which would contain space restrooms, offices, concessions and storage. The estimated total cost for the facility is $7 million.
In a similar way to how the All-Seasons Center functions in the city , funding for this project will be a joint effort between the City of Sioux Center and Dordt University.
“Part of it is for Dordt athletics to create some additional spaces,” Dordt University’s president Erik Hoekstra said.
In its 25 years of existence, Dordt’s Recreation Center has been enjoyed by students, college athletes and other members of the general public. In recent years, however, the space has become notably busy. While the sports dome facility will prove to be very helpful for year-round practice for sports teams, it could also be available for the general student body for activities such as intramurals.
“Softball and soccer are probably the two sports that will be most in the dome,” Hoekstra said. “But again, I could see a couple of wings get together and just have a big open space.”
While Hoekstra could see great use and potential of a dome for the Dordt community, he could not justify building one exclusively for Dordt athletics and students. After all, the Rec Center—with its rubber courts, indoor track and racquetball courts—has been enjoyed by members of the surrounding Sioux Center community for decades.
“A dome stadium for Sioux Center could mean high school kids could get a lot more time on things like softball and soccer,” Hoekstra said, “It will just continue to make Sioux Center a destination.”
The open house event, which took place in the library’s community room, featured three different pitches for potential locations of the sports dome, which the council produced with the consultation of the company Confluence. They also planned the different potential locations for the project with help from the Sioux Center City Staff, Parks Board, Heritage Village Board and Joint Use Committee. The committee oversees the collaboration among the city, the community schools, and Dordt University.
Alongside each concept discussed was a list for the pros and cons for the respective idea. Generally, the advantages and disadvantages had to do with the visual and social effects of the dome’s location, the orientation of the building (i.e., north/south or east/west) and the fate of Heritage Village and its arboretum.
Although there have been rumors of the city losing Heritage Village, none of the three potential concepts intend to remove the historical and valuable space. While two of the concepts will leave Heritage Village where it is—though with less space—one concept will move it to an entirely new location in Sioux Center, leaving it with space to grow.
“There are people that think that Dordt wants to get rid of Heritage Village, but nothing could be further from the truth,” Hoekstra said.
Hoekstra further emphasized that the Dordt student body need not worry about the cost of the dome affecting their tuition. As was the case with the new science building, the university’s intent is to raise money from outside sources.
“Not one dollar of the thing will come from student tuition,” Hoekstra said. “It’s a gift that some of the donors to the place want to give to students to make athletics better, to give more recreational opportunities.”
While Dordt will be funding their portion of the dome facility, the ultimate decision regarding location rests with the city council. On February 15 they will meet to discuss feedback from the community. They will have made a final decision by late spring. Anyone interested in viewing the three concepts for the dome sports facility and their respective pros and cons can find them on Sioux Center’s city website at siouxcenter.org. Residents who would like to share their feedback can also fill out an online survey by February 12 on the same site.