Over 800 youth softball and soccer athletes in the Dickinson community can look forward to playing on new grounds in town.

The Dickinson State University Heritage Foundation released plans for a new sports complex Tuesday to be built in 2022.

The $7 million facility, named the Sanford Sports Complex, will be constructed on Dickinson State University’s campus. It will consist of five grass soccer fields, four turf softball fields, concessions and a park. The complex is created in partnership with Dickinson Public Schools and Dickinson Parks and Recreation.

The goal of this new project is to improve upon the athletic facilities for soccer and softball programs in the area and to provide a fun atmosphere for competition.

The new home of the Blue Hawks softball team. (Design courtesy of EAPC Architects Engineers)
The new home of the Blue Hawks softball team. (Design courtesy of EAPC Architects Engineers)

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“To improve the athletic experience for our student-athletes and enable the growth of youth sports in Dickinson, the Sanford Sports Complex is a great asset for our community,” DSU President Stephen Easton said. “This will give us the ability to host conference championships and national tournaments on the softball field.”

Construction is expected to begin in the spring of 2022. The complex will be built on the old Stark County Fairgrounds, north of the Biesiot Activities Center.

“This is a tremendous addition to the community,” DSU Heritage Foundation Development Officer Kyle Smith said. “This will allow us to have softball on campus for the first time ever… It’s going to create an athletic corridor for athletes.”

The softball fields will be the home field for the Blue Hawks softball program and also utilized by the Dickinson High School Softball team, who won its first Class A state championship this past season.

The grandstand on the championship softball field. (Design courtesy of EAPC Architects Engineers)
The grandstand on the championship softball field. (Design courtesy of EAPC Architects Engineers)

“Our Blue Hawk softball team deserves the opportunity to play in a first class facility, and local youth softball and soccer teams will have a safer place to practice and play,” Easton said.

This past year, Dickinson high school fielded their first-ever girls soccer team and having a new field to compete on will look to grow the sport in the coming years.

“We’re new to soccer within the walls of our schools,” DPS Activities Director Guy Fridley said. “We’ve been playing on Dickinson State property and we’ve been grateful for that opportunity, but now it’s a field we can call our own.”

One of the five soccer fields to be built. (Design courtesy of EAPC Architects Engineers)
One of the five soccer fields to be built. (Design courtesy of EAPC Architects Engineers)

Fridley says the potential to host conference and state tournaments in Dickinson is one of the many reasons this project has created a buzz in the community. Having a new facility for athletic events to highlight the young athletes from the area unlike before.

“We have already secured some support for the project and are excited to get out into our community and talk to people about it,” DSU Athletic Director Pete Stanton said. “The use of the land north of the Biesiot Activities Center will be a great attraction for our current and future students.”

Sanford Health and American Bank Center have both contributed the lead gifts towards the facility, with American Bank Center committing $500,000. The DSU Heritage Foundation continues to raise funds for the project.

The home field for DSU’s Softball team will include an enhanced seating section for spectators and will be named the Bravera Bank Championship Field once it opens.