After more than a year of hype and construction, Mount Marty University (MMU) officially cut the ribbon and opened Ruth Donohoe First Dakota Fieldhouse.

“We built this building to bring people together,” said Chris Kassin, MMU vice president for strategy and intercollegiate athletics.

Ruth Donohoe First Dakota Fieldhouse

The 100,000-square-foot fieldhouse is made up of 74,000 square feet of space for events and athletics, a separate weight training area, fitness center, and more.

“It allows us to really help our athletes train, help our athletes compete, and help our community with different events,” said Kassin.

At this time, the fieldhouse is not able to live up to its full potential.

“Unfortunately during a pandemic, you’re trying to keep people away. But at some point, it’s going to be a hub of activities where people can gather and a showplace for events for Mount Marty and for Yankton.”

“When people are looking for places to hold events, they need space. We now have that space” -Chris Kassin

The larger portion of the building houses a 200-meter, eight-lane track with 40 yards of turf in the middle. Alongside the track and the field, there are two basketball courts.

“It’s been a welcome addition by our students, our student athletes, our coaches,” said Kassin. “They love having that indoor space.”

Kassin said that MMU athletic teams are able to practice more despite weather conditions. They’ve even held football practices inside a few times when Mother Nature was too harsh.

Ruth Donohoe First Dakota Fieldhouse

“It’s been relatively nice outside up until now, but still it’s been too cold to do some of the things that you would like to do,” he said. “And in the past we wouldn’t have had the possibilities to practice.”

The facility is for more than just MMU athletics. 

“It’s a multipurpose facility that can be utilized in several different ways,” said Kassin. “It can be modified to host different events, host different practices, and host things at the same time.”

Through a partnership with GreatLIFE, Kassin says community members can access the GreatLIFE fitness center with a membership.

Fieldhouse Facts

Here are just a few facts on the new facility:

Cost $15 Million
200-meter, eight-lane track
7,500 square foot weight training & fitness facility
74,000 square foot event space

There’s also an option to rent space for larger-scale events outside of university functions.

Avera Sports and Coach Rozy Total Training for Elevated Performance encompass another 3,000 square feet. The remaining space in the fieldhouse is taken up by a state-of-the-art weight and fitness area, training room, and even a space for hydrotherapy. 

And this is no small feat for the university, according to Kassin.

The Timeline

Feb. 2019 // Construction Plans Announced
July 2020 // Scheduled Completion
Sept. 2020 // Ribbon Cutting and Block Party

“It signals that Mount Marty is growing. It signals that we’re moving forward and that we’re serious about being competitive in athletics, we’re serious about being competitive as an institution, and that we are serious about hosting large-scale events in a great community like Yankton.”

So over a year and $15 million after the concept was introduced, the university has made a leap for both the university and the surrounding community by building the Ruth Donohoe First Dakota Fieldhouse.

Kassin left off, “It’s also been a longtime dream of the university to build a facility like this that actually came true.”

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