SIOUX FALLS, S.D. — Sanford Health has broken ground on a $40 million, 173-acre expansion of its Sanford Sports Complex in Sioux Falls, South Dakota, that will feature 18 outdoor turf fields.

The new, lighted fields will host host baseball, softball, soccer, lacrosse and other activities starting in 2022 and are expected to host 1 million new visitors over five years for tournaments, sports training programs and youth and adult league games, according to Sanford Health.

Mammoth Sports Construction will lead the work on the expansion, which Sanford Health said in a news release was the biggest turf field project in the United States with nearly 1.7 million square feet of turf.

“This is a landmark day for children in our communities who are simply looking for a chance to play,” said Steve Young, president of the Sanford Sports Complex. “We will now be able to provide year-round programming and opportunities on our campus that will allow more athletes and their families to experience the positive and foundational growth sports offers.”

Sanford Sports Complex, which sits on about 500 acres in northeast Sioux Falls, has hosted both national and regional sports events at its multiple facilities including the Sanford Pentagon, Sanford Fieldhouse, the Scheels Ice Plex, Huether Family Match Pointe Tennis, Power & Grace gymnastics and the Great Shots golf entertainment center.

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The expansion is funded by a $300 million donation in March from credit card billionaire and philanthropist T. Denny Sanford, the health system's chief patron. Sanford's donations have transformed Sanford Health, which was renamed after him, and catapulted its growth into one of the nation's largest health systems.

Sanford Health, based in Sioux Falls, has 46 hospitals across the Upper Midwest, including major medical centers in Sioux Falls, in Fargo, North Dakota, and Bemidji, Minnesota, as well as over 200 clinics and 366 Good Samaritan Society senior care and living centers in states across the nation.

Denny Sanford's giving to the health system now tops $1 billion. The latest donation for $300 million was aimed at growing the Sanford Sports Complex, expanding graduate medical education programs and creating a 'state-of-the-art virtual hospital" to support rural telehealth both in and outside the health system's footprint. Sanford Health officials have said details are still coming on the virtual hospital.