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Next Steps For SF Events Center

November 9, 2011, 5:56 PM by Ben Dunsmoor

Next Steps For SF Events Center
SIOUX FALLS, SD - Sioux Falls voters have approved the events center, so where does the $115 million plan go from here?

City officials say about a third of the design work was done before the election so voters could see some of the preliminary drawings. Now, they'll build off that work and get ready to break ground in August.

The first step the city has to get in order is the financing. That will start as early as Monday night's city council meeting when the city finance director will get the ball rolling on the bonds. Then after January 1, they'll start on design, naming rights and construction plans.

"Now, the real work begins, but it's exciting. It's no longer just an idea. It's no longer just a blueprint that may or may not happen. It's going to happen now because the public wants it to," Sioux Falls Community Development Director Darrin Smith said.

Starting this month, the council will vote on the bonds to pay the $115 million price tag, and starting in January, the architects for the project will take the drawings and turn them into final blueprints to build the facility.

"Now, we'll really take what we think is a really strong schematic design, refine it, and start to make it reality," Sioux Falls Public Works Director Mark Cotter said.

The search for companies to sponsor the building will also start after the first of the year. And while the city has already paid to study the naming rights, Smith says they still have to ask the council to hire a company to sell the new events center.

"So, we'll have to make a decision there.  We'll have to visit with the city council and the mayor to jointly make a decision that we do want to have professionals help us with this as we've talked about all along in this process. That's not a surprise," Smith said.

And while all that work is going on, city officials hope that construction crews can put the first shovels in the ground in August 2012 so the building can open in the fall of 2014.

"These buildings are busiest in the fall and so we want to make sure it's complete so we can have a full fall schedule in 2014," Cotter said.

As far as naming rights are concerned, Smith says the vote was crucial to that part of this project because many companies wanted to wait for the vote before they came forward to put their name on the building.

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