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SDSU athletics officials announce lead gift for arena renovation

Courtesy of SDSU athletics

rendering of First Bank & Trust Arena interior
An architectural rendering of the First Bank & Trust Arena interior.

South Dakota State University Athletics officials announced Sept. 13 that Brookings-based First Bank & Trust has committed $20 million that will serve as the lead gift for the complete renovation of Frost Arena. Under the agreement, First Bank & Trust will assume naming rights to the facility, which serves as the home competition venue for Jackrabbits men's and women's basketball, wrestling and volleyball.

“The long-standing generosity of First Bank & Trust and the Fishback family continues to have a major impact on our university,” said SDSU President Barry Dunn. “The generous gifts provided over many years have been important to the success of our students, faculty, alumni and also the community of Brookings. Because of this gift, the renovation of Frost Arena will allow us to improve a facility that is home to many events, including Jackrabbits athletics, commencement, concerts and lectures, and continue its rich history of being a regional center of activity for the state and the university.”

The $20 million gift is the largest single gift in the history of South Dakota State University. The proposed project, pending approval by the South Dakota Board of Regents, is estimated at $50 million and fundraising is ongoing through the SDSU Foundation.

First Bank & Trust and its founding Fishback family have been longtime supporters of South Dakota State University and Jackrabbits Athletics. Thanks to lead gifts by the bank and the Fishback family, several academic programs, facility expansions and fundraising campaigns have driven growth for the campus and community over the years.

“First Bank & Trust shares SDSU’s progressive vision and relentless pursuit of excellence, combined with a passion for impacting our community,” said Kevin Tetzlaff, president and COO of First Bank & Trust. “Together, we’re committed to working hand in hand to create the best for Jackrabbit fans and the city.”

Tom Fishback, market president of First Bank & Trust, Brookings, added: “Our relationship with SDSU has stood the test of time, reinforcing the alignment between our organizations and proving a strong commitment to growth and quality of life in Brookings. This expanded partnership will continue to foster growth that will support the SDSU community and, in turn, our community.”

The renovation project is expected to take two years and will be done in phases to avoid relocation and interruption of SDSU events. The fan experience and game-day atmosphere will be first class thanks to the new features of the renovated facility. These include new premium seating areas and suites, state-of-the-art video board and display systems, an enhanced sound system, a more spacious concourse and improved restrooms. New and improved locker rooms and offices are also a part of the design for the renovated arena, which will have an estimated capacity of 5,500.

“We couldn’t be prouder to continue our partnership with First Bank & Trust,” SDSU Director of Athletics Justin Sell said. “First Bank & Trust has meant so much to the university, the community, the state and the region. To enhance the footprint of the Stanley J. Marshall Center and create a first-class facility for our student-athletes, coaches and fans is incredibly exciting.”

Frost Arena, named in honor of former Jackrabbits basketball coach and athletic director R.B. “Jack” Frost, opened in February 1973 and was constructed for an initial cost of $3.685 million. First Bank & Trust Arena will include an interactive space which will highlight the history of SDSU athletics in addition to being the new home of the Jackrabbits Sports Hall of Fame.