Midco Arena, on the campus of Augustana University (AU), celebrated its grand opening January 26–27 in Sioux Falls, SD. This weekend marked the Vikings’ first ever home hockey series on campus, inviting fans inside AU’s new $72 million, 154,000 square-foot arena designed by JLG Architects, in collaboration with Clark Construction Group and Edgemoor Infrastructure & Real Estate.
Augustana University made a historic decision in 2021 to expand its athletic program with the addition of Division I Men’s Hockey – a first in the State of South Dakota. “When creating a brand-new program from the ground up, several pieces needed to fall into place quickly, such as hiring a head coach, securing conference affiliation, and of course, identifying a home barn to play in,” explained JLG Architects’ Adam Davidson.
Midco Arena is a state-of-the-art hockey facility housing 3,082 seats, 12 private suites, a center ice “Vikings Club” space, and a main campus team store, Skol Shop, offering a variety of Vikings athletic apparel.
“AU’s priority from day one was to deliver a first-class fan experience, all within a rightsized space, that lays the foundation for a Men’s DI Hockey program known nationally for competitive excellence.” – Adam Davidson, AIA, LEED AP, JLG Architects
Designed to be multi-use, Midco Arena is considered the new hub of AU’s athletic district, housing athletics administration offices, classroom space, strength and conditioning, sports medicine, and hydrotherapy. The Arena also designates coaching offices for track and field and strength and conditioning, along with space for a future addition of lacrosse. With AU’s strong commitment to gender equity, programming for the facility includes a full team suite for the Women’s Soccer Program. This Women’s team suite, same as the Men’s Hockey program, contains dedicated coaching offices, team lounge space, and team locker space customized to the program needs. In addition, equitable access is provided to strength and condition areas, sports medicine and hydrotherapy, and onsite equipment and laundry services.
“One of the most unique opportunities in designing Midco Arena, is the way in which it aligned with the creation of a brand-new DI program,” said Davidson. “Starting from scratch, and not having a coaching staff to work with at the beginning, our priority was to help educate university staff who didn’t necessarily have a background in hockey facilities. To create the DI collegiate experience, we kicked it off by leveraging our team’s hockey experience, balancing it with authentic qualities unique to AU, then rightsizing every aspect for their program.”
Joining the Vikings at the half-way mark of the Arena’s design, the program’s first head coach, Garrett Raboin, worked alongside JLG in completing the vision of the Men’s Hockey team suite. Customized locker rooms with ventilated locker stalls, a lounge space with fueling station and dining amenities, and training features, such as a puck shooting room, were priorities of Coach Raboin in elevating players’ performance, nutrition, and overall well-being. “It’s just exciting that we’re finally home,” added Coach Raboin, when taking to the ice for the first time this week.
Collegiate field house design reminiscent of generations past provided inspiration in the development of the Arena’s identity. Using masonry to relate back to campus architecture, celebration of day-lit opportunities, and a distinctive barrel-vaulted form all contributed to an authentic presence on campus. “With an open concourse design and an extroverted presence, fans step into the Arena and are instantly immersed in the action on the ice,” said Davidson. “The outcome is a fantastic gateway to campus and intimate sporting experience, helping to build a new Vikings tradition for AU and the community of Sioux Falls.”
About JLG Architects
In 1989, JLG Architects emerged in the Midwest as a two-person firm founded by Gary Johnson and Lonnie Laffen. With a “DESIGN for LIFE” approach to architecture, their integrity and vision became the firm’s catalyst for national growth in leadership, peer education, and client connectivity. Today, JLG is a national pacesetter and home to over 200 employee-owners across nine offices. The firm is expertly engineered to advance the sectors of higher education, K12, medical, sport, wellness, and community design.
Through collaborative solutions, nurtured relationships, and environmental stewardship, the firm invokes a lifelong approach to design with unified goals at the helm: increase clients’ well-being, brand, bottom line, and sustainability. We take our clients’ success personally, driving design that engages occupants, elevates architectural standards, and enriches the lives of our clients and community.