Back to: Featured Stories
November 19, 2017 11:15 PM

Pinnacle's Panels

In many ways, the Denny Sanford PREMIER Center is the mirror image of a popular entertainment venue in Nebraska.  The events center and the Pinnacle Bank Arena in Lincoln are run by the same management company, SMG.

They both attract many of the same national acts, including multiple concerts by country superstar Garth Brooks. They were also built by the same company, Minneapolis-based M.A. Mortenson Construction.

But problems with bulges in the PREMIER Center's siding have been an issue for Sioux Falls that's still being worked out to this day.

People in Lincoln, Nebraska have nicknamed the Pinnacle Bank Arena "The Vault."  Now in its fourth year of operation, the $189-million "Vault" has become a valued treasure to the community.

"We have great seats.  It's easy to get around; we just really love the facility," Michael Keralis said.

Michael and Robin Keralis are hardcore University of Nebraska fans who are fixtures at Cornhusker basketball games at the arena.  They've also attended events at the Denny Sanford PREMIER Center in Sioux Falls, but their loyalty lies in Lincoln.

"We're very partial to this one," Michael Keralis said.

"We're biased. We like ours, but yours is still good, Robin Keralis said.

"Yeah, yours is still very beautiful, too," Michael said.

The Pinnacle Bank Arena opened a year before the Denny Sanford PREMIER Center.  Sioux Falls City leaders followed the Pinnacle's construction closely to see what they might expect as the PREMIER Center went up.

"Just being able to have that ability to see everything from footings and foundations all the way through and when the scoreboard gets added.  And also, just operationally, who they hired to sell their suites and loge boxes and club seats,"  Sioux Falls Public Works Director Mark Cotter said.

But the City of Sioux Falls was less than pleased with how the PREMIER Center's metal siding turned out

"We did expect it to be smoother. I mean that was our intent," Cotter said.

Ripples in the PREMIER Center siding led to a $1-million settlement to the City by M.A. Mortensen Construction and contractors involved with installing the paneling.   The city has no plans to replace the rippled panels, but an outside firm will look into whether there are any structural problems that need to be fixed.

"We expect confirmation that it's functioning as it's designed to do," Cotter said.

We also noticed rippling on the metal siding that forms the silver topping of Lincoln's Pinnacle Bank Arena, and we pointed that out to people below.

"It looks just a little crinkly, if you look at it," Robin Keralis said.

"Yeah, it looks like the clothes you just took out of the laundry," Michael Keralis said.

The similarities are striking. The paneling of the Denny Sanford PREMIER Center looks very similar to the siding of the Pinnacle Bank Arena. 

"It's not my favorite, but with all the other things going around on the bottom, I don't know that my eye gravitates there," Elizabeth Vinton of Lincoln said.

The Pinnacle Bank Arena says the siding looks this way by design.

"It's a curved bowl and so you're dealing with a flat surface, it has texture and I think it's appropriate for what the building has," Pinnacle Bank Arena General Manager Tom Lorenz said.

The Pinnacle Bank Arena was designed to blend-in with the neighboring entertainment district known as The Haymarket.  To that end, the arena features three different types of siding.

"The building has multiple textures, pre-cast, flat panel and the zinc panels and I think it's appropriate, works great and we've had no issues with it," Lorenz said.

The arena management says there's no need to scrutinize the panels because they say they're confident that the building is structurally sound.

"We like the look, and we know that the zinc will patina over time, so the panels will look slightly different which just adds to part of the aesthetic beauty of the building," Lorenz said.

Even people in Lincoln, who find the paneling less-than-beautiful, say it's more of an issue with cosmetics than construction.

"Actually, I think it kind of gives it a little bit of character, honestly.  Is it right, is it wrong, I don't know," Andy Vasiloff said.

Two multi-million dollar buildings, the pride of each community: one with ripples by design, the other rippled unintentionally.

When it comes to assessing the outward appearance of each, it all depends on how you look at it. 

Last week,  the City of Sioux Falls picked the Chicago-based firm Simpson Gumpertz & Heger to lead that independent study of the PREMIER Center's siding. 

M.A. Mortenson Construction emailed KELOLAND News this response to our questions regarding the siding of both the PREMIER Center and the Pinnacle Arena:

"The Denny Sanford PREMIER Center in Sioux Falls and Pinnacle Bank Arena in Lincoln, Neb. are unique facilities that both use architectural metal panels as a part of their exterior designs. The variation in the appearance of these panels is intended and anticipated, and akin to the look of metal panel exteriors of other iconic venues."  
--Derek Cunz, , senior vice-president at Mortenson

The Pinnacle Bank Arena management also sent us the original renderings for the building as further proof that the paneling turned out as intended.  To view the renderings, visit the photo gallery via Dropbox.

  • Eye on KELOLAND
  • Featured Stories


We Welcome discussion on KELOLAND News stories but will delete any comments that contain swearing or make threats against others.


Click here for full weather details!