The beginning of the transformation of Frost Arena into First Bank & Trust Arena will be marked with a ceremonial groundbreaking on Thursday, June 2.
The event, which is open to the public, begins at 4 p.m. on the east side of Frost Arena. An ice cream social will follow. Guests are asked to park in the parking lot east of the arena.
“In the short time since we announced our challenge gift for the expansion of Frost Arena, we have been blown away by a couple of things,” said Kevin Tetzlaff, First Bank & Trust President and Chief Operating Officer. “First, we are overwhelmed with the community’s response to our challenge, nearly doubling our gift in a mere eight months to bring this project to fruition. Secondly, we are grateful to SDSU for its dedication in ensuring all that is amazing about Frost Arena - its energy and its heritage - becomes embedded into the very fabric of First Bank & Trust Arena.”
The Brookings-based financial institution announced a $20 million lead gift this past September that secures naming rights for the facility. A number of families, businesses and individuals have made other significant contributions toward the project, including matching gifts from an anonymous donor that will provide an additional $10 million.
Construction and renovation on First Bank & Trust Arena began recently with Henry Carlson Company serving as the contractor-at-risk. The Arena project, which is expected to take two years to complete, is part of the SDSU Foundation’s Bold & Blue campaign, which is the largest comprehensive campaign in South Dakota State University’s history.
“My family has been investing in SDSU since it was established in 1881,” said Tom Fishback, Market President of First Bank & Trust, Brookings. “And four generations later, I am pleased our organization plays a part in this historic expansion, not only to support SDSU’s vision in creating a state-of-the-art venue, but to support the cultural, educational and business growth that is sure to follow.”
The project was authorized by the South Dakota Board of Regents in December 2021 and received approval from both houses of the South Dakota Legislature, as well as Gov. Kristi Noem, during the recently completed legislative session.
“When completed, First Bank & Trust Arena will enhance our fan experience and home-court advantage to a whole new level,” said SDSU Director of Athletics Justin Sell. “This project is the latest in a series of substantial investments our tremendous donors and partners have made to allow Jackrabbit Athletics to thrive.”
Frost Arena has served as the home of Jackrabbit basketball, volleyball and wrestling since opening in February 1973. The facility also has hosted countless campus events over the past 49 years, including graduation ceremonies, concerts, lectures, conventions and academic fairs.