With the town motto “Come Be Our Guest,” it’s no surprise that Watford City is home to a new statewide events and convention center with space to attract all manner of athletic events. The Rough Rider Center features arenas for hockey, figure skating and roller skating, as well as basketball and volleyball courts, a field house with removable turf for soccer and baseball, a lap pool and a leisure pool, a 1,000-capacity convention center, a 3,000-seat auditorium, a running/walking track, a climbing wall, a new synthetic turf football stadium, a gymnastics club, laser tag, and not one — but six — bounce houses.
Situated on a hilltop with dramatic views of the prairie, the event center is sited to create a shared, protected south-facing entry courtyard, sheltered from the strong northwest prairie winds, while maximizing daylighting. The plan organization takes advantage of the sloping site, with the main concourse serving as a viewing area to the athletic venues located on the lower level, while also allowing for convenient top-loading of the spectator seating. The concourse widens and opens to the football field and the prairie beyond, and sports venues can be connected to provide for contiguous convention space.
Large floor openings were placed to create a strong connection between the main and lower-level concourses, and high-efficiency glazing and horizontal mullion extensions reduce solar heat gain. Clerestory lighting above the field house and ice sheets bring in additional natural light.