Simplified: Dakota State University is seeing more students, hiring more faculty, adding more programs and accepting more donations all in an effort to ramp up the school's presence as a cybersecurity hub. That includes a $90 million facility coming to Sioux Falls.

Why it matters

  • DSU plans to begin construction in the spring on a 100,000-square-foot research facility in northwest Sioux Falls. The building is funded through a combination of state funds, a $60 million donation from T. Denny Sanford – initially $50 million, with an additional $10 million given and $10 million from the City of Sioux Falls.
  • DSU President Jose-Marie Griffiths on Tuesday updated the City Council on the work that's been done so far on the applied research facility as well as the timeline moving forward.
  • Griffiths said in the last five years, DSU has added 15 new cyber programs, increased its faculty by almost 20 percent and, much more recently, signed a first-of-its-kind agreement with the U.S. Army, facilitated in part by U.S. Sen. Mike Rounds.
"We're already talking about work that's going to start flowing in our direction," Griffiths said of the new government contract.

What happens next?

The final design is expected to be presented to the Board of Regents in December with construction set to start in the spring.

The research facility will also be led by a separate nonprofit corporation to provide for more flexibility in responding to market demands and contract needs.

And the overarching goal for all of this work is a desire to ensure DSU graduates have a place to do highly classified government work without needing to move away, Griffiths said.

"We were losing a significant amount of our high tech talent to the coasts because people had to go in work in certain kinds of facilities," Griffiths said. "So we wanted that kind of specialized secure facility here in the state so that we could keep the talent here and contribute to our economy overall."