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Rapid City Celebrates Completion Of New Arena's Steel Frame

Seth Tupper

People looking for good news to celebrate found it Saturday in Rapid City as construction workers attached the final piece of steel onto a new arena. 

Summit Arena isn’t finished yet. Workers still have to complete the interior of the 11,000-seat structure.  

But Saturday’s ceremony marked the completion of the building’s steel frame. A small crowd looked up into a sunny sky while a giant crane hoisted the last beam into place. 

The project has been years in the making. Local voters rejected an arena plan in 2015. Rapid City Mayor Steve Allender was elected several months later and decided to try again. Voters approved an arena plan in 2018. 

Construction of the $130 million facility began a few months before the pandemic. Allender said the facility will open in September. 

“You know, there’s been just so much bad news over the last year that this is really just a good turning point,” Allender said. “I think this is really our new year starting now.” 

The new arena is in the parking lot next to the old arena, which was built in the 1970s. That structure lacks handicap accessibility and has a ceiling too short for the light shows and other theatrics of many modern concerts. The city will keep the old arena as overflow space for the adjacent convention center and new facility.   

Seth supervises SDPB's beat reporters and newscast team. He works at SDPB's Black Hills Studio in Rapid City.
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