No better time than now exists to look at expanding the D&N Event Center, said Tad Haneborg, president of the D&N’s board.
The plans have been in discussion for several years, and Haneborg is hoping the momentum for growing the local business community will give rise to more events. With that, he said, a larger facility is needed.
“Through COVID, we waded through everything and obviously it affected us, too, through August,” Haneborg said. “We had to either say it’s time to go (forward), or it’s time to sit back” and wait a long time for a better opportunity.
His team discussed what the future would be for event centers, with many closed or restricted to limited capacity across the country.
“We have been booked full from October to May,” Haneborg said.” We have a number of events booked into next year as well,” prompting the decision to move forward with the expansion.
“The Rocky Mountain National wrestling organization is planning on hosting three tournaments (at the D&N) next year,” Haneborg said. “The first one we did a month ago was 400-500 kids. They could be 1,200 to 1,800 kids, is what (the wrestling group) envisions.”
Haneborg said expanding the facility would allow the center to host multiple events simultaneously, as well as larger events including concerts.
“We look at that and say, obviously it’s time,” Haneborg said. “My dad (Larry Haneborg) had plans he was looking at that were four times bigger than what I’m looking at.”
The updated plans are looking at adding 50,000 square feet to the north of the current 40,000-square-foot facility.
“We will have a 50-foot ceiling, multi-use flooring that can accommodate basketball, pickleball, volleyball or every event we can put on that floor,” Haneborg said.
The project is estimated to cost $7.5 million. Haneborg said the Visitors Bureau has committed $600,000 to the project, pending approval by the Lincoln County commissioners. Additionally, he said, the city of North Platte and Lincoln County officials have expressed support in discussions with him.
In a press release, Haneborg said the community donated $8,660, unofficially, through Giving Day for the D&N.
The D&N is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit that opened in January 1992 at a building west of the Super 8 motel on Eugene Avenue. A fire destroyed that building in 1995, and the current facility at 501 E. Walker Road was built shortly afterward.
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