City, DWU, Avera officials discuss arena-wellness project, label it a 'community center'A press release issued jointly Friday by the top officials of the city of Mitchell, Dakota Wesleyan University and Avera Queen of Peace Health Services said that “discussions have started” regarding a potential three-way partnership on a multi-use facility at DWU that could include an arena, wellness center and indoor pool.
By: Staff, The Daily Republic
A press release issued jointly Friday by the top officials of the city of Mitchell, Dakota Wesleyan University and Avera Queen of Peace Health Services said that “discussions have started” regarding a potential three-way partnership on a multi-use facility at DWU that could include an arena, wellness center and indoor pool.
The release, sent from the e-mail of City Councilwoman and Avera employee Geri Beck at 4:05 p.m., also said that the three entities now want to call the proposed structure a “community center,” rather than an events center.
“The answer we arrived at was that this project needed to be a multi-use facility that can be used by our entire community on a daily basis that has the ability to expand retractable seating several times a year to accommodate large events,” DWU President Bob Duffet was quoted as saying. “We think calling it a ‘community center’ is a better fit than a special event center.”
Mayor Lou Sebert said he has met with the officials from the hospital and college about the project.
“We’ve met to talk about what our primary needs are and our potential sources of revenue,” Sebert was quoted as saying. “We know that this building will have to contain an indoor pool, and we know that it will be on or near Dakota Wesleyan University’s campus.”
Tom Rasmusson, president and CEO of Avera Queen of Peace Health Services, urged careful action on the project.
“There are a lot of decisions to be made and a lot of work to do,” he said in the release. “You only get one chance to do a project of this magnitude right.”
City Council President Jeff Smith said in the release that the next step will include putting “schematics together” to see what the project could look like.
“It’s too soon to talk about budget figures, but because this proposed project would be a partnership between a public entity and two private non-profit organizations, we’d be pooling our resources on this project,” Smith said.
The release said the three entities plan to meet again at the end of the month.
“There are a lot of details to work out on ownership, operation and maintenance, but based on the feedback that we’re getting, people like the concept,” Sebert said. “This wouldn’t be the first venture between private and public entities, and we can learn a lot from what other communities have done.”