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USD Discovery District Awarded Federal Grant

Funds will expedite construction of 80-acre research park

Image Rendering of USD Discovery District Rendering of the USD Discovery District in Sioux Falls, South Dakota, from what will be Nobel Street. Source: Discovery District Master Plan.

SIOUX FALLS, S.D. – The USD Discovery District, an 80-acre corporate and academic research park under development in Sioux Falls, today announced it has been awarded a $755,000 grant from the U.S. Economic Development Administration (EDA) for infrastructure development.

The grant will be used to build 2,800 feet of roads plus utilities needed to initiate construction of buildings on the site, which is located adjacent to the University Center in northwest Sioux Falls. The goal of creating the Discovery District is to strengthen the region’s capacity to support and grow innovation-based businesses resulting in new jobs, increased regional wealth and tax revenues.

“The Economic Development Administration is committed to providing American entrepreneurs with the tools they need to grow and thrive,” said Jay Williams, U.S. Assistant Secretary of Commerce for Economic Development. “This grant will help to establish the USD Discovery District, which will help to boost the region’s bioscience research industry cluster.”

This public-private partnership is an effort between the University of South Dakota, the Governor’s Office of Economic Development, the city of Sioux Falls, the Board of Regents and the business community through Forward Sioux Falls. Matching funds totaling $895,000 from the state of South Dakota and Forward Sioux Falls have already been secured to fund the initial development phase estimated at $1.65 million.

“This strategic investment by the Economic Development Administration, in addition to those committed from the state and the Sioux Falls business community, serves as the catalyst to begin physical construction of the district,” said Rich Naser Jr., president of the USD Discovery District. “Now with initial funding secured, we can move ahead finalizing construction plans, putting the project out to bid and scheduling a public groundbreaking ceremony, bringing us closer to realizing the benefits of this catalytic project.”

The city of Sioux Falls is a co-applicant on the grant, as the streets will be dedicated upon their completion and the city will take over their ownership.

“The city of Sioux Falls is certainly thrilled to add the U.S. Economic Development Administration to the collaboration efforts on the Discovery District, and with a $755,000 grant, they jumped on board in a wonderful way,” said Sioux Falls Mayor Mike Huether. “The team commits to utilize their investment in a prudent and productive way, generating thousands of good jobs along the way.”

The district will provide access to research facilities and infrastructure for research business development, which will create new jobs, and foster collaboration for new technologies. At full build-out, the direct economic impact is projected to include 26 privately developed buildings, with facility construction value exceeding $314 million and nearly 2,800 people employed by companies located at the district.

“Our vision is to create a dynamic and collaborative environment where talent, research and innovative businesses interact to create new ideas, new technologies and new opportunities,” added Naser. “Our objective is to have positive economic impact on our region, but on a much larger scale to make a powerful impact on the world.”


Founded in 1862 and the first university in the Dakotas, the University of South Dakota is the only public liberal arts university in the state, with 202 undergraduate and 84 graduate programs in the College of Arts & Sciences, School of Education, Knudson School of Law, Sanford School of Medicine, School of Health Sciences, Beacom School of Business and College of Fine Arts. With an enrollment of nearly 10,000 students and more than 400 faculty, USD has a 16:1 student/faculty ratio, and it ranks among the best in academics and affordability. USD’s 18 athletic programs compete at the NCAA Division I level.


Hanna DeLange
USD News