New Ascent Innovation Center opens to the public

RAPID CITY, S.D. — The new Ascent Innovation Center, part of Elevate Rapid City, opened on October 12. A day not even hail, thunderstorms, and even the first snowfall of winter couldn’t stop from happening.

Ascent Innovation Center 2The event began with a tour of the building, following an array of guest speakers before the official name of the $15 million building was revealed: the David Lust Accelerator Building, or D-LAB for short.

David Lust was one of the main drivers for bringing opportunities for growth and economic development through Elevate Rapid City, serving as the first chairman of the organization. He was also very active in the community, having served on the boards of Rapid City Economic Development Partnership, South Dakota School of Mines, and the Rapid City Area Chamber of Commerce.

“David was a long-standing civic leader in our community,”  Chair of Elevate Rapid City Darren Haar stated. “Very much of a servant-based leader and really worked to bring opportunity to our community and our state.”

The building is 40,000 square feet, with pieces and designs highlighting major features of the area, such as Rapid Creek, the Black Hills, and South Dakota Mines’ M-Hill.

Rooms are still being finished, but when fully complete, the new facility will be able to house anywhere from five to 25 different projects, ranging from a multitude of innovative scientific and technological ideas.

Here, their ideas will be “accelerated” from early beginnings to much more.

“At the end of the day, what you’re trying to do is get somebody who is in technology who wants to start a business and you’re trying to accelerate them from the very start of when they open a business,” President and CEO of Elevate Rapid City Tom Johnson explained. “To actually creating jobs and growing revenue in a really fast way.”

In keeping with the partnership Elevate Rapid City has with South Dakota School of Mines, the plan to sell the building the previous location was in to the school for them to use in furthering their research. The project also came about in part from graduates of the school seeking to come back to Rapid City from the larger cities they were working in.

They also plan to continue their internship programs for students at the school, with some positions even having the potential to be paid positions.

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