FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: Sept. 30, 2019
CONTACT: Terri Haverly, 605.716.0003, firstname.lastname@example.org
Ascent Innovation prepares for business incubator expansion in Rapid City's downtown district
RAPID CITY, S.D. — Rapid City Economic Development Foundation’s branch, Ascent Innovation, is expanding into Rapid City’s downtown district with a celebratory groundbreaking on October 9, 2019. Not only will this innovation campus establish additional opportunities for technology growth in western South Dakota; it will create a bridge between student talent and commercial industry housed within a legacy building.
Established in 2006, the current center is located on the university loop of the SD School of Mines and Technology campus. Over 30 companies have been admitted to the Ascent Innovation Center, resulting in more than 400 jobs during their tenancies. Today, the center has reached 95% capacity with 20 tenants, and over 75 employees. Current tenants have an estimated total annual payroll of $4.9M+ with the average wage reaching upward of $74,000, and with student internships reaching $20/hr.
“The Center is dedicated to incubating startup (or new-to-the-area) highly-skilled businesses with growth potential, as well as offering student skill progression,” said Ascent Innovation Director Terri Haverly. “Encouraging the development of local businesses has served to provide new, increased job opportunities, additions to the variety of products and services available in the area, and contributes to the general economic health of the region.”
On Nov. 20, 2017, Mayor Steve Allender’s request for the land at 108 Main Street to be secured for the Ascent Innovation Center expansion passed a Rapid City Council vote unanimously and the preparation for expansion began. Strang, Inc. – an architectural firm specializing in innovation and research parks – has provided design and planning counsel. Local companies such as FMG Engineering, TerraSite Design, Albertson Engineering, and West Plains Engineering have also been engaged with the project. On Sept. 13, 2019, Scull Construction was awarded the bid for construction.
“We want people, both close to home and across the country, to discover the world of entrepreneurship and to find their place in the Rapid City entrepreneurial ecosystem,” said Haverly. “The Center will be a part of the bigger vision of the city’s master plan and help ideas to become a reality.”
A lot of moving pieces have contributed toward making this construction possible. Community support, state and national grant awards, professional expertise, and strong leadership have connected the dots to bring new life to the 100 block of East Main Street in Rapid City. A public groundbreaking celebration will be held on October 9th, 2019 at 108 E. Main Street. Construction will continue throughout 2019 with completion projected for winter 2020.