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Construction projects moving along

  • By Dan Crisler, Public Opinion Staff Writer
  • Updated




As the winter approaches, three high-profile building projects around Watertown are set to enter another stage.

By the spring, the city will have the new Odyssey 8 movie theater to go along with Prairie Lakes Wellness Center and Hobby Lobby. All three projects are in different construction stages, but when complete, the three projects will mark the latest chapter in what has been a rapid period of growth within the city.

The Prairie Lakes Wellness Center is perhaps the closest project set to open to the public. Sitting slightly north of 14th Avenue Northeast and immediately east of the one-year-old Watertown Middle School, the 103,000 square feet facility has seen most of its exterior walls erected, save for a few minor spots such as one patch near the indoor-outdoor water slide. The glassy front that will greet members and visitors is also in place.

“It’s moving along very rapidly,” Mayor Steve Thorson told the Public Opinion last week. “They’re installing the floor in the five gyms. There’s a lot of painting going on with different colors going in there. Signage is getting made at this particular time. It’s all coming together. In fact, we’re looking at a February or March time frame to get this thing opened up to the public.”

When completed, the center will include five basketball courts, an 11-lane swimming pool with water slide, a free weight room, a cross fit room, three racquetball courts, a whirlpool, and a community room for meetings and parties, among many other features. The center will also offer a variety of fitness classes and be able to host events. A three-lane walking/running track will give many patrons a leisurely workout.

“The walking track is at least two times longer than our current track is,” Thorson said. “When you walk the track, you’ll be able to see the swimming pool, the kids part of the pool and the basketball courts. There’s a lot to see.”

Thorson’s progress report comes nearly one month after the city entered into a $2.2 million, 25-year naming rights agreement with Prairie Lakes Healthcare System. That $2.2 million donation will cover 10 percent of the approximately $20 million construction project.

The wellness center will replace the 30-plus year old Watertown Community Recreation Center that currently adjoins the Boys and Girls Club and the Civic Arena along Ninth Street Northeast.

In another major project, work is progressing at a rapid clip on the Hobby Lobby building at the corner of U.S. Highway 212 and Willow Creek Drive in east Watertown.

In the manner of a few days last month, the project progressed from a site with only a concrete base to one that quickly had walls outlining the shape of the building, including a defined store front, leaving many, including Thorson, impressed.

“The (construction of the) walls just blew me away,” Thorson said. “They put the roof on and are working inside.”

Stripes in the parking lot have also been laid. Despite some inquiries, there will be no early Christmas present with the opening of the arts and craft store this year. Instead, Thorson said the corporation will adhere to the original schedule that calls for perhaps a late March opening.

Thorson said it’s corporate policy to not open a store right before or during the holiday season.

“In the Hobby Lobby organization, they will not open a store in the fourth quarter anywhere in the United States,” Thorson said, citing inventory concerns that would come with a holiday season opening.

When Hobby Lobby opens, officials expect the store to provide about 30-35 jobs that will see full-time associates earn $15.35 per hour. Thorson expects the store to bring in over $100,000 worth of tax revenue annually to the city. The store is expected to draw customers throughout northeast South Dakota and western Minnesota.

Even though the exterior is still being constructed, the new Odyssey 8 movie theater on the southern edge of town along U.S. Highway 81 will also join Hobby Lobby with a March opening.

“The steel has arrived for the new roof systems. I would say the walls are right on schedule,” Odyssey Entertainment Steve Tripp said recently.

Tripp also said that grading has commenced in preparation for the asphalt that will go down yet this fall in the parking lot.

Even while Hasslen Construction crews from Ortonville, Minn., work to enclose the structure — perhaps around the first part of November — Tripp said that interior work is already commencing.

“Four of the auditorium floors have already been poured. (Crews) will continue to pour floors and do interior concrete work as they can,” Tripp said. ”Roof and plumbing work is also being done, and so are things that need to be done underground. Curbs are also being put in on the parking lot.

“Stuff is happening quite rapidly.”

When it opens, the eight-screen theater will replace the current Odyssey 5 complex located south of Hy-Vee along 14th Street Southeast adjacent to Watertown Mall. The new theater will feature a stadium configuration and even be outfitted with leather recliners and reserved seating.

The new theater is also expected to offer an expanded concession menu and additional amenities, including party rooms and family restrooms.





July 27, 2016                                                                                       


Odyssey Theatres. is pleased to announce the official groundbreaking on their new state-of-the-art Odyssey 8 Theatres took place Monday July 25th.  The new all stadium cinema will feature all leather reclining lounger seating and in select auditoriums laser powered Barco Projection systems. 

A birthday party room will be available for patron use to incorporate a party and a movie event. 


“Construction will continue with a projected winter opening after the first of the year”, said Gary Westmark General Manager for Odyssey Entertainment.  Gary went on to say, “We believe our patrons will be pleasantly surprised by the quality of South Dakota’s newest Cinema and agree while a long time coming it is well worth the wait”. 





Steven L. Tripp


763-746-0228  ext 444




June 14, 2016                                                                                    


Odyssey Entertainment, Inc. is pleased to announce the completion of the re-zoning and subsequent final purchase of the 14 acre parcel of land just north of the John Deer Dealership on highway 81 on Watertown’s south side.  At the same time, final building plans have been completed and are out to bid. 


“We anticipate breaking ground soon with a late fall/early winter completion date of our all stadium, luxury recliner eight screen cinema”, said Gary Westmark General Manager for Odyssey Entertainment.  Gary went on to say, “We are excited to also announce this new theatre will feature the latest in Barco Laser projectors in select auditoriums, a first in South Dakota”. 





Steven L. Tripp


763-746-0228  ext 444





March 13, 2016


Odyssey Entertainment, Inc. today announced the signing of a land purchase agreement in Watertown, SD with the purpose of building a new eight screen movie theatre on the property. The 13 acre site is located on HWY 81 just south of Highway 212. Plans include the construction of an all stadium state of the art Cinema Complex with construction to begin in late spring. The new site provides the room for expansion if needed as the community grows. Early plans are to have the new theatre open in time for the 2016 holiday season. The current Odyssey 5 will close this fall as the move gets underway.


The new theatre will be all stadium and feature Luxury Lounger Reclining seating for every patron. Movie goers will be able to choose their seat location via an assigned seating portal at the theatre box office, on line, or at the ticketing kiosks in the lobby. A much larger concession area will allow for a wider selection of offerings with a less congested service area. Gary Westmark, Odyssey’s VP of Operations says “Watertown is in for a great surprise as this theatre will be unmatched in the area for comfort and presentation. Not only are our patrons going to go from slope floors in the Odyssey 5 to stadium seating, but they will also melt into our reclining lounger chairs to take their movie going experience to the next level.” Each auditorium will feature wall-to-wall immersive screens as well as Dolby Stereo Surround sound. Two auditoriums will be equipped to feature 3D presentations. A party room will provide patrons with an option for kids birthday parties with a movie for a memorable event.


Odyssey Entertainment, Inc. owns and operates 8 theatres under both the Odyssey and CineMagic banners in Minnesota, Iowa, South Dakota, North Dakota and Ohio. For further information please contact Steve Tripp at 763-746-0228 ext. 444.


Steven L. Tripp
763-746-0228 ext 444