The old Carmike Theater on Overland Avenue is under construction. Despite shipping problems, thefts and COVID-19, owner Dave Veeder hopes the new conference center will open as early as summer 2022.
David Veeder has held many job titles throughout his life. He was a lawyer for years, was a chemical engineer, and now challenged when most of the men his age are retired.
“I’m the general contractor for the conference centers, which is unusual for an owner, but I’ve done this before,” said Veeder.
Veeder, now in his 80s, moved to Billings in 1965, long before the Carmike 7 theater opened in 1988. Little did he know that he would renovate the theater 30 years later.
“The building has now been renovated twice, once for office space and currently mostly for the functions of the event center,” said Veeder.
The event center will have conference rooms, a small kitchenette, a coffee corner and even a reception area for vehicles such as tractors and other agricultural equipment. However, construction is still in progress.
“At this point everything is still moving because we now have a new COVID,” said Veeder.
The pandemic made it difficult to procure materials and led to delivery delays.
“We tried to shop locally, or at least within the United States,” said Veeder.
The project is also faced with other challenges. Veeder had to fence in the area for theft. These obstacles won’t stop construction entirely and Veeder has high hopes for the event center’s completion.
“Shooting should be completed by next summer, summer 2022,” said Veeder.
Veeder says why he’s so passionate about building a new conference center.
“I do it because I like it, I know you, people need you. I think Billings needs it especially, ”said Veeder.