FACILITIES & DIRECTIONS
Wachs Arena, the home of NSU men's and women's basketball, volleyball and wrestling since 1986, is located in the Joseph H. Barnett Center. Wachs Arena is host to a wide variety of activities, including NSU men's and women's basketball games, wrestling meets, volleyball matches, indoor track meets, and community events.
The arena features high quality scoreboard and video re-play systems as well as seating for the thousands. Northern also hosts state high school basketball and wrestling tournaments every year in conjunction with Aberdeen Central High School and SDHSAA. Aside from athletic competition, the arena is home to Northern's spring commencement ceremony and a variety of campus and high school activities from the annual Wacipi Pow-Wow to the state high school science fair.
Wachs Arena seats 8,000 spectators, and Northern State has led NCAA Division II in men's and women's basketball attendance for 12 straight years, with women's basketball finishing in the top 50 of all NCAA Division I institutions in attendance in 2015-16!
Renovations: The arena has seen its fair share of updates over the years from cosmetic changes to new installations. The 2013-14 season saw the addition of new portable basketball hoops for all home games. In the summer of 2015 the east, west, and south bleachers were replaced for the first time since the facility was built. The handicap friendly bleachers have added opportunities for sponsorship on the running boards and quick transitions for game day staff in set-up and tear-down. The 2015-16 season added updated courtside seats featuring the Northern State ‘N’ logo. In December of 2016 the game day experience added VIP suites for NSU basketball fans. The suites feature a unique viewing experience for fans, which are located on the upper level of the mezzanine just behind the north bleachers.
In the summer of 2019, the arena received another face lift. The project included a new in-ground wood floor, a new display of conference and season awards, a brand new, center-hung digital videoboard/scoreboard, and new score table displays. The scoreboard, installed by Daktronics, is the largest collegiate center-hung video display system in the state of South Dakota. The four-sided scoreboard features displays on each side that can show a combination of live video, instant replays, up-to-the-minute statistics, graphics and animations, and sponsorship messages, according to information from Daktronics. Donor support was crucial to this project, with funding for the scoreboard coming from the Dahme family and Reede family as well as Dacotah Bank.
Driving Directions: From HWY 281 South - Turn east onto Melgaard Road, then north onto Lincoln Street. Turn east onto 15th Ave. SE and continue to State Street. Wachs Area and the Barnett Center are located at the intersection of State and 15th Ave. SE. Parking is available on the north side of the building.
From HWY 281 North - Turn east onto 6th Ave. (Hwy 12). Turn south onto State Street. Wachs Area and the Barnett Center are located on the west side of the street just before the intersection of State and 15th Ave. SE. Parking is available on the north side of the building.
From HWY 12 East and West - Turn south onto State Street. Wachs Area and the Barnett Center are located on the west side of the street just before the intersection of State and 15th Ave. SE. Parking is available on the north side of the building.