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New Sanford Premier Center will be jewel

by Greg Belfrage

Construction is proceeding furiously on the new Denny Sanford Premier Center which is scheduled to open in five months.I was fortunate to receive a tour of the new facility yesterday and it is absolutely stunning.

Mayor Mike Huether has told me several times that the city was building a new center that he hoped the entire community, including those who voted against it, would be proud. After seeing the center yesterday, it's my view that the city is delivering on that promise in spades.

The interior beauty of the Denny Sanford Premier Center shines right through the construction dust and scaffolding. One of my first thoughts was that the quality of the facility is what you would expect to find in a much larger city, like Minneapolis or Omaha.

The building is immense. I took a number of photos during the tour and none of them convey the sheer size and scale of the building. It is simply massive.

There is beautiful wood work suspended overhead in some of the main hallways, blocking views of the ventilation and infrastructure above. The cement floors have been diamond polished, creating a very elegant appearance. There is carpeting in many of the public areas.

The luxury suites are fantastic, complete with sink and refrigerator. There are small wooden drink tables built between the seats. It's very easy to see why so many companies were clamoring for them.

The club seats are similarly impressive. Patrons in the club seats will be able to order food and drink without ever leaving their seats. Identical club seating will be available to the general public on the opposite side of the events center, just without the additional food and drink service.

The more public areas of the Sanford Premier Center, such as the sponsored food courts, are also striking. There are a number of open areas where patrons will be able to eat or drink at small bars or tables and still view the arena floor.

Everyone knows the locker rooms in the old Arena are a joke. Nobody will be mocking the new locker rooms in the Denny Sanford Premier Center. There are two larger locker rooms for hockey, complete with wood fixtures. There's a unique heating and ventilation system in the locker rooms designed specifically to remove odors.

There are also eight smaller locker rooms for basketball. All of the locker rooms can also serve as multi-purpose rooms for non-sporting events.

The main concourse is majestic with hundreds of windows affording a terrific view from both inside and outside. I can only imagine how this jewel will appear from Western Avenue at night when it's all lit up for an event. When the center is fully completed and open, you'll be able to see from the main concourse all the way down the hallway to the old Arena.

Click HERE to view all of my tour photos.

Long-time listeners know I'm a native of Sioux Falls. I went to the old downtown Washington High School, so I felt very especially lucky to have been invited inside to see the construction and renovation of the Washington Pavilion. I stood on the upper balcony of the Great Hall (long before any seats had been installed) and looked down on an excavator sitting where the stage would be constructed.

As I walked through the Sanford Premier Center, I had memories of visiting the Washington Pavilion when it finally opened. The Pavilion has always been mired in controversy, but experiencing the grandeur of that facility for the first time was powerful.

I have a feeling that the Denny Sanford Premier Center, once it opens in September, will take your breath away.

Greg Belfrage @belfrageshow is heard 6am-9am on KELO 1320 AM and 107.9 FM. Greg can be contacted at greg.belfrage@mwcradio.com.