Becoming The Monument: Rushmore Plaza Civic Center takes on new form, name |

Becoming The Monument: Rushmore Plaza Civic Center takes on new form, name

By Shaley Lensegrav, Freelance Contributor

As the Oct. 1, 2021 opening date quickly approaches, the Rushmore Plaza Civic Center’s new arena is beginning to take shape.  

Craig Baltzer, executive director of the Civic Center, reported that “right now we’re looking very good. We’re running on budget and on time.” 

While the dry fall and winter might not be good from a moisture standpoint, the mild conditions have helped keep the project on pace.  

“There are many things going on at once,” Baltzer said. “However, to us, the biggest deal is the long span steel going up as the foundation of the roof. This steel is also the foundation of all concerts and traveling shows, since most shows hang their sound, video, lighting, and sets from the above trusses.” The final main trusses will be placed in the last part of December.  

Once the long span steel is in place, Baltzer said that smaller steel and panels will be added to the roof to start enclosing the structure. After the structure is enclosed, work will begin on framing interior walls, plumbing, and wiring.  

Not only is the Rushmore Plaza Civic Center gaining a new arena, it is also getting a new name. The entire complex will legally be renamed “The Monument” effective the first of July 2021.  According to Baltzer, Monument Health purchased the naming rights and plans to update the names of the ice arena and theater as well as giving the new arena a name of its own.  

“We have been really happy with Monument Health,” Baltzer said. “They want to have the public weigh in on [the new names].”  

There is currently a public name competition running to name the new arena which will be announced sometime in January. The goal is that the new names be connected with the Black Hills region in some way. 

Despite the construction, the Black Hills Stock Show events will go on as planned in the Civic Center for this year. The new arena will be completed in the fall of 2021 which means that the first Stock Show Rodeo in the new arena would take place in 2022.  

As far as parking for the 2021 show goes, Baltzer said that the construction “won’t affect the general public, but will affect how stock contractors pen up their animals.” In some cases this would mean penning livestock outside.  

Ron Jefferies, general manager of the Black Hills Stock Show, said that the construction may cause some “shuffling” to make everything work. While the goal is to keep everything on site for this year, Jefferies explained that with less and less space to keep things on site, they may need to start trucking in rodeo stock at some point in the future.  

As far as rodeo contestants and those showing cattle go, Jefferies recommended sharing trailers whenever possible to help with parking. Official plans for trailer parking are still being worked through and discussed at this time.    

Along with parking discussions for the 2021 Stock Show, several organizations are also working through discussions on the best way to use the new arena and the existing Don Barnett arena for future stock shows.  

Once construction is complete, there will be three connections between the Barnett hall and the new arena, including one connection for audiences to move between the two spaces and another indoor ramp to transport materials or livestock from the back of the Barnett space into the new arena.   

After the new construction is complete, the existing Barnett Arena will no longer be used as an arena. The Barnett was built prior to the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA), and Baltzer explained that it would cost up to $30 million to rework the Barnett seating in order to be compliant with current codes. Because of this, most of the seating will be closed off and used as storage.  

The Barnett will become a hall or large room with extensive floor space, which opens it up to a plethora of potential uses. Baltzer said that events such as rodeos, trade shows, regional basketball games, or even concerts could still be held in the Barnett as it will have a capacity of 1,500 seated or 2,200 persons for a standing room only concert.  

“Growth will take place, it’s just a matter of where that growth will take place,” said Jefferies about the potential to expand the stock show using the new available space.  

Black Hills Stock Show board of directors member, Jim Hunt said, “There is a lot of excitement in the air,” surrounding the Black Hills Stock Show and its potential for growth.  

“The amount of space under a roof will be incredible,” he said. He anticipates that the arena will make the Rapid City show one of the “premier livestock show accommodations.”  

Hunt also reported that horse show consignments are up for the 2021 show, vendor space has been sold out for months, and that there is a high demand for high quality livestock.  

Jefferies also alluded to the show’s growth by saying that entries for youth shows and the cattle show are up this year. The stock show has also added sheep and goat youth shows for the 2021 event.  

“We’re hosting a show that continues to grow,” Jefferies said. 

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