Summit Arena opens in Rapid City


RAPID CITY, S.D. (KELO) — The new Summit Arena is officially open in Rapid City after nearly two years of construction

More than 11,000 seats fill the Summit Arena. Along with plenty of concessions, restaurants, and lounges. Director of the Monument, Craig Baltzer says this venue is ready to go.

“And then we will roll on with some concerts, some youth sports, and all that kind of stuff and I only see that trend growing in 2022 right now,” Craig Baltzer, Director of the Monument, said.

Construction on the new arena started back in November of 2019.

“It was a twenty-two-month build and they hit their target, they hit their budget and we couldn’t be more pleased with the outcome. They did a great job. It’s a nice venue and it’s a good looking venue,” Craig Baltzer said.

The brand new facility is a multi-purpose arena. It can hold hockey games, basketball games, and even the Black Hills Powwow.

There are four-levels in the Summit Arena. Right now, I’m standing in the second level at the premium theater box.

“We really built it to operate well for the audience and the shows but they found a way to make it good looking on top of it so we are very happy with what they did,” Craig Baltzer said.

The arena is about 250,000 square feet and cost $130-million. Rapid City Mayor Steve Allender says building the Summit Arena is a great investment.

“It was apparent that we needed a new arena if we wanted to stay in the convention and entertainment industry as we have for decades before,” Mayor Steve Allender, Rapid City, said.

Now, Rapid City is able to host bigger name concerts, larger events, and more.

“I believe, if we just take a look back in history at the grand opening of 1977 of the Civic Center and Barnett Arena and the benefit that it served for the next 40 years, I think we will see a repeat of that same benefit only on a larger scale,” Mayor Steve Allender said.

“The Summit Arena is a huge economic engine for Rapid City and will be for decades to come and we are just really excited to be a partner of that,” Jerry Schmidt, CEO of the Black Hills Federal Credit Union, said.

Jerry Schmidt is the CEO of the Black Hills Federal Credit Union, who is the founding sponsor of the new arena. He is also a long-time resident of Rapid City and remembers his first concert at the Barnett Arena.

“AC/DC, my brother took me to AC/DC,” Jerry Schmidt said.

“To get back into that game where some of these large name acts that are actually often driving through Rapid City but unable to play here because the show doesn’t fit, now will be able to play now that they can fit,” Craig Baltzer said.

While the Barnett Arena has been around since 1970s, and hosted some big names, 40 years later Baltzer, Mayor Allender, and Schmidt hope to see the Summit Arena do even more.

“This is that next evolution that can take it to a whole new level,” Jerry Schmidt said.

The Summit Arena will host it’s first scheduled event this weekend for All-State Choir.

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