June 30, 2016
Students, faculty, and state officials gathered earlier this week in Madison, SD, to see the ceremonial start of construction at the Beacom Institute of Technology. The state-of-the-art facility will be home to Dakota State University‘s nationally recognized computer science and cyber security programs.
Undergraduates lined up along the Trojan Center wall to get a view of the now-empty lot, leaving the shade only when dignitaries started taking their places on the makeshift stage. Likely members of DSU’s future student body also joined the crowd, on break from the GenCyber: Girls in Cybersecurity Camp. It was a fitting audience to help usher in this new chapter for the DSU community.
Initially, DSU planned a major addition/renovation of the community’s former hospital to create the 45,000 sf technology center. Based on assessments, visioning workshops, program-specific needs, and other data from stakeholders and consultants at SmithGroupJJR, the project team decided to change direction and instead focus on an entirely new facility. The complex, named for lead donor and PREMIER Bankcard President Miles Beacom, will take shape across the street from the campus’ historic East Hall.
View a short video from the ceremony.
DSU’s President, Dr. José-Marie Griffiths, reflected the sun’s warmth in her remarks. She highlighted the project’s potential to benefit students and, through them, impact the larger technology industry. Beacom and another alumnus, Board of Regents President Randy Schaefer, took turns one-upping each other as they entertained current students with stories of their own days at DSU. Gov. Dennis Daugaard brought a roaring cheer from students as he acknowledged their presence in the background. Daugaard focused his comments on the importance of providing higher-education opportunities in the state.
The Beacom Institute of Technology will include dedicated spaces for computer science, cyber operations, and network security–all critical components to maintain DSU’s existing federal contracts and attract new business. Project-based areas include flexible learning rooms for game design and software development, a PC lab, a Mac lab, and an analytics studio. A large collaboration center will encourage creative “collisions” and act as a social hub for students to continue small-group work.
The Institute is an $11.4 million project overall, with an estimated $9 million construction cost. Completion is slated for Fall 2017.