SIOUX FALLS, S.D. (AP) — A 1950s-style throwback basketball court with a dark parquet floor and retro scoreboards is the centerpiece of a $19 million indoor athletic complex set to open in Sioux Falls next month.
The Sanford Pentagon will make its prime-time debut Oct. 10 with an NBA preseason game between the Minnesota Timberwolves and the Milwaukee Bucks at the 3,250-seat Heritage Court. The arena will soon serve as home for the NBA development league's Sioux Falls Skyforce.
Eric Larsen, general manager of the Sanford Sports Complex, said although the Pentagon boasts such modern amenities as high-definition video boards and luxury suites, the goal is for fans to feel like they're in an old-school gymnasium.
"We've tried to design it take you back into the 'Hoosiers'-era," said Larsen, referring to the popular movie about a fictional Indiana high school basketball team. "So when you walk into the facility, you end up back in the '50s and '60s."
The Pentagon is part of a 162-acre Sanford Sports Complex built by the Sioux Falls and Fargo, N.D.-based Sanford Health system. The complex features nine youth football fields and the Sanford Fieldhouse, an indoor athletic training, sports medicine and physical therapy facility.
Construction of an 82-room hotel and a restaurant are nearly complete, and Sanford has donated land to organizations planning to build a seven-court indoor tennis facility and a three-rink ice hockey center.
The Pentagon Heritage Court will host another high-profile basketball game — Wisconsin's season opener against St. John's — on Nov. 8 before becoming the Skyforce's home.
Mike Heineman, owner and president of the Skyforce, a Miami Heat-affiliated NBA D-League team, said the new seats and video boards will be a huge draw for fans.
"It's pretty much a dream facility for a minor league basketball team," Heineman said.
The Pentagon's court features seats that retract to reveal two additional college/pro-size courts, which will provide a great open area for Skyforce practices, Heineman said.
Six additional courts on three sides of the Pentagon will be used for high school and college basketball and volleyball tournaments, Larsen said.
"We're concentrating right now on the grand opening and some really big games," he said. "But when it comes down to it, it's really about access to facilities like this for youth to play in and be able to keep themselves in shape."
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