The DECC is a Jewel of Duluth

The Duluth Entertainment Convention Center (DECC)

Year-Round Fun for Tourists and Residents

The Duluth Entertainment and Convention Center

Located on the waterfront with panoramic views of the Aerial Lift Bridge and Duluth Harbor, steps away from Canal Park, Downtown Duluth, restaurants, hotels, and shopping, the publicly-owned multi-use facility, the DECC is truly at the epicenter of entertainment in the Twin Ports. Since they first opened their doors in 1966, the DECC has been a mecca for tourists and local residents alike.

Cover of the Grand Opening Program in August, 1966

Dignitaries at the Grand Opening of the Duluth Arena included Vice President Hubert Humphrey.

The banquet at the opening of the Duluth Arena - August 1966

Pioneer Hall was added in 1976, introducing a hockey rink with a smaller seating capability that uses foldout bleacher seating. Pioneer Hall is now the home of the Duluth Curling Club, with an upstairs lounge and eight curling rinks, which can be expanded to provide up to thirteen curling sheets for major events. It has hosted two World Championships, the U.S. Olympic Trials and numerous other national events.

Over the years since then, the complex has added convention and meeting space, and the Amsoil Arena in 2010. Built at a cost of $6.5 million, the Arena portion of the complex houses a 190-by-85 foot hockey rink with 5,333 seats and six locker rooms.

Amsoil Arena

The Amsoil rink can be converted to host concerts, dinners, conventions and shows. The DECC was the selected site of the NCAA Division I Men’s Hockey Championships in both 1968 and 1981. And, they hosted the 2003, 2008 and 2012 Women’s NCAA Division I Frozen Four.

A spacious lobby separates the Arena from Symphony Hall, with a central location for the ticket booths. Symphony Hall seats 2,221 and is home to both the Duluth Superior Symphony Orchestra and the Minnesota Ballet. Symphony Hall also plays host to concerts, touring shows, operas, dance recitals, high school graduations and a variety of other activities.

Symphony Hall

The DECC also offers two ballrooms, 30 meeting rooms and over 100,000 sq. ft. of exhibit space to host conventions, trade shows and community events. Spaces can also be reserved for parties, weddings, and receptions.

The Lake Superior Ballroom

In 2008, the Duluth Entertainment Convention Center received the Governor’s “Minnesota Great Award.” This recognition honors excellence in businesses that preserve the environment through innovative practices preventing pollution and waste and improving resource efficiency leading to sustainability. The DECC has become one of the area’s significant environmental stewards.

On May 14, 2021, Daniel Hartman was named as the new DECC Executive Director replacing interim director Roger Reinert. Hartman had a successful tenure as the director of Glensheen for eight years prior to taking on this new position. He led Glensheen’s team as they rebranded the museum, increasing its visitorship and community relevance.

“We had a very impressive applicant pool, which I believe demonstrates the interest in both the DECC and Duluth,” said board member and search committee chair Don Ness. “Dan’s successful track record and leadership at Glensheen, his passion for Duluth and his creativity combined to confidently bring him forward as our finalist.”

Hartman noted that he learned from his position at Glensheen about a wide variety of marketing strategies, and about how to work on projects a facility needs to remain maintained and updated. “Some of the DECC’s technology needs upgrading. The Amsoil, however, has amazing technology,” Hartman noted.

He said he has also gained an appreciation for the historical buildings in Duluth working at both Glensheen and the DECC. “The DECC has a mid-century modern style that is still beautiful, with things like the three-tiered chandelier system,” he said.

Hartman, as a UMD senior in 2006, led the student campaign to build the DECC’s AMSOIL Arena. He also served on Duluth’s city council from 2010 to 2014.

“It is an honor to serve now in this role at the DECC, and my hope is to build on the good work of the past leadership and staff. In the immediate future, I will support the DECC’s great health and safety record so guests feel welcome and confident as we return to more events,” said Hartman.

“I also want to showcase and further leverage the DECC’s proximity to the greatest lake there is — Lake Superior,” he added. “We are this great combo of a versatile indoor facility located in an outstanding outdoor city.”

Sue Ellen Moore has worked at the DECC for nearly 20 years and is now the Director of Sales. “We are so excited to have the doors back open and to be scheduling events. We have aways booked events years in advance, but incredibly, we have some events already booked through 2038,” she said.

Moore added, “Customer service is at the heart of what we do. And we are very proud to be such an important part of the cultural fabric of Duluth.”

“Visitors love that they can walk out the doors and be right on the waterfront. They can board the Vista for a boat ride or go across the parking lot to board the North Shore Railroad for a ride up the shore. The nearby Great Lakes Aquarium is another fun tourist attraction,” said Hartman.

During the pandemic, the DECC also served as both a site for COVID-19 testing and vaccinations. “We want to keep the DECC on the path of community collaboration as they have done throughout their history. We are here when the community needs us,” Hartman added.

“As we emerge from the pandemic and see brighter days ahead, we are very excited about what Dan, his leadership, and his vision will bring to the DECC team,” said board chair Pat Mullen. “The board is ready to support Dan as he takes on this new role and is confident that he will bring new energy and innovative ideas for a successful future.”

Commenting on his vision for his new position, Hartman said, “I am still in the early stages of my new job, but I know I want to want to continue the wonderful legacy of the DECC. We want the facility to continue to adapt to meet the needs of the community, and we want to continue to grow. It has been important for me to meet with as many people as I can who have held past leadership roles and worked at the DECC, to learn from them about what the future should be, while also building on the past.”

Moore added, “Stay tuned for big things ahead and good days to come. We will be keeping people up-to-date, on social media and elsewhere, with what is going on at the DECC and sharing our story. You can already feel the refreshing changes in the air ahead.”

“I have already found that the care and love for the DECC is real,” said Hartman. “It takes passion to care for a special facility like Glensheen and the DECC. The people who work here now and those who have worked here in the past carry on that passion for this jewel of the community.”

 

 

 

 

 

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