Mayor outlines timeline on new Civic Center Arena

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With Rapid City voters saying 'yes' to building a new arena the question on some minds is, "What next?"

Rapid City Mayor Steve Allender outlined a timeline Wednesday afternoon which he admits will be long.

The vote in favor of a new arena was overwhelming 64-percent. Craig Baltzer, the Executive Director of the Rusmore Plaza Civic Center said he could not be more excited about the future of the new arena.

"For the next 30-40 years, it's going to do what the Barnett alone couldn't do," said Baltzer. "It's going to secure the future. For us, that's a huge step."

Construction of the new arena will begin next spring. First, the city needs a blueprint. Conceptual drawings have been sketched for the new arena, but the actual plan will be developed. City staff will meet with architects next week.

According to Allender, construction is expected to take about two years. During construction on, what is now, Civic Center parking, Allender said the community will have to be patient.  He said he is confident that everything will go smoothly.

"All of the surprises that could come up in the construction project have been investigated and there's been some level of comfort with them," Allender said.

When major events are in town like the Black Hills Stock Show and Rodeo or the Lakota Nation Invitational, construction equipment will be moved around to accommodate traffic. While the new arena is going up the Barnett will operate as usual - with its full event load.

After the new arena opens, the Barnett's upper seating area will be blocked off, leaving just the collapsible bleachers below. This, said Rapid City Communications Coordinator Darrell Shoemaker will remove much of the cost of making the Barnett ADA compliant. Shoemaker said that a few changes would have to be made to the locker rooms and the bathrooms for roughly $750,000.

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