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Business & Economics

New Rapid City Arena Nears Completion

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Arielle Zionts / SDPB
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The Summit Arena is 250,000 square feet and seats about 11,000 people.

Construction workers installed windowpanes and rode cranes to reach the top layers of the new Summit Arena in Rapid City on Monday morning.  

Workers have labored through the coronavirus pandemic, labor and supply shortages, and the recent 100-degree heatwave since breaking ground in November 2019,   

Despite those obstacles, the $130 million arena at the Monument is expected to be completed on time in early October.  

“Basically at this point it’s a lot of final finishes, a lot of testing,” said Andrew Corson, a senior project manager with Mortensen/Scull Construction. “We’ll start testing the fire alarm system. We’ve started going through final inspections with the city inspectors.” 

The voter-approved arena is 250,000 square feet and seats about 11,000 people. It is modern and ADA-compliant, unlike the old arena, which was built in 1977.  

The Summit Arena has contemporary architecture, natural lighting, and modern features such as communal lounge areas and grab-and-go markets. It has a ribbon board and is seeking permission from the Rapid City government to apply for a $1 million Small Business Association loan to pay for a center-hung scoreboard and video display.  

Some events – such as the Black Hills Stock Show and Rodeo – were crunched for space at the existing facilities, according to marketing director Priscilla Dominguez. She says the bigger arena will allow for more guests and visitors, which will lead to more local spending.  

“We know that everybody is staying a night – at least one night in a hotel room, more than likely two or three – they’re eating in restaurant, they’re getting gas,” Dominguez said of the economic impact of the stock show.  

The Summit is attached to the old 34,500-square feet Barnett arena, ice arena, fine arts theatre, and other existing facilities at The Monument, which was previously known as the Civic Center. The Barnett arena will remain open with removable, floor-level seats. The bleacher sections will close since they aren’t ADA-compliant.  

The Summit will celebrate its first event on October 8 with the Black Hills Pow Wow. Upcoming concerts include Foreigner, Chris Young, and For King & Country.