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Construction underway to transform Carmike 7 theater to conference center

Posted at 6:05 PM, Dec 06, 2021
and last updated 2021-12-06 20:05:43-05

Construction is moving right along at the old Carmike theater on Overland Avenue. Despite shipping issues, thefts, and COVID-19, owner Dave Veeder is hoping the new conference center will be open as early as summer 2022.

David Veeder has had many job titles throughout his life. He practiced law for years, has been a chemical engineer, and now, a challenge when most men his age are retired.

“I am the general contractor on the conference centers which is unusual for an owner, but I’ve done this quite a bit before,” Veeder said.

Now in his 80’s, Veeder moved to Billings back in 1965, long before the Carmike 7 theater opened in 1988. Little did he know that he would be renovating the theater 30 years later.

“The building has been renovated now twice, once for office space and currently for basically the event center functions,” Veeder said.

The event center will have conference rooms, a small kitchenette, a coffee corner, and even a pre-function area that can hold vehicles such as tractors and other farming equipment. Construction, however, is still underway.

“Everything at this point is still moving because now we have a new COVID,” said Veeder.

The pandemic has made it difficult to obtain materials as well as created shipping delays.

“We’ve tried to purchase locally, or at least within the United States,” Veeder said.

The project has also been hit by other challenges. Veeder had to fence in the area due to thefts. These hindrances won’t stop construction altogether and Veeder has high hopes for when the event center will be complete.

“We’re shooting to be done by next summer, summer of 2022,” said Veeder.

As for why he’s so passionate about building a new conference center, Veeder says it’s simple.

“I do it because I like to, I know about them, people need them. Particularly I think Billings needs it,” Veeder said.