Corn Palace awaits new roof after May hailstorm damageA great deal of Mark Schilling’s attention right now is on the leaky roof of an old building — the Corn Palace.
By: Tom Lawrence, The Daily Republic
A great deal of Mark Schilling’s attention right now is on the leaky roof of an old building — the Corn Palace.
Schilling, director of the Corn Palace, is waiting for a work crew to repair the Corn Palace’s roof, which was damaged in the May 5 hailstorm that slammed through Mitchell.
The Mitchell City Council has authorized Schilling to spend $175,000 to repair the roof. The approval was passed as an emergency measure, with no need to advertise the job.
Architectural Roofing, of Sioux Falls, will provide the workers to place thick rubber membranes atop the roof to seal the holes. Work may start in mid-July, Schilling said, depending on when the material arrives.
“When you’re working with the Corn Palace roof, it takes a lot of material,” he said.
Schilling had hoped to see the work get under way in June, but there has been a delay in obtaining the roofing material.
Having the workers on hand isn’t an issue. Crews from the firm are already in Mitchell working on other roofs, he said.
Schilling said a 169-feet-long by approximately 80-feet-wide section of the roof will be repaired. It’s above the basketball court and the raised seating on the west side of the building.
“That’s where the majority of the damage is and that’s where it’s the most severe,” he said. “We have other places where there is minor leaking and need to be addressed.”
The building is being monitored around the clock, Schilling said.
Staff arrives at the Corn Palace around 5 a.m., so any night-time rain can be cleaned up. In case of a major storm, the Corn Palace and City Hall are a storm shelter, so staff is on hand to open the buildings.
The May 5 hailstorm damaged buildings and vehicles across Mitchell, and city property was no exception. Mayor Lou Sebert said he expects the total to top $300,000.
“The Corn Palace will be the most expensive,” Sebert said.
But the Mitchell Public Library, the Rec Center, a city storage building and numerous vehicles were also slammed by the storm, he said, as was the city-owned Highland Conference Center.
“We had a lot of car damage. Some of them were totaled, some will be fixed, some we will buy back,” Sebert said. “Anything that gets stored outside got hail damage.”
Public Safety Chief Lyndon Overweg said several police vehicles were damaged in the storm. Two had their windshields blown out and that was quickly repaired. Overweg said it was easy to see which vehicles were hit by hail.
“Take your pick,” he said. “A bunch of them got it.”
Billie Kelly, the city’s human resources director, said the final total is still being compiled.
She said the damage to city vehicles was more than $100,000.
For the past eight weeks, Schilling and his team have been wiping up water that lands inside the Corn Palace to prevent damage to the wood floor, scoreboards and other items in the building.
“We’re trying to protect it as much as we can,” he said. “We monitor. We’re right in there if we see ceiling tiles getting loose or if there are large amounts of water, we clean it up as soon as possible.
“With a roof like ours, you don’t notice or you don’t have the same leak twice,” Schillling said. “We’ve been able to limit the damage.”
He said the direction of rain, or if it’s a soft or driving rain, determines where the leaks pop up.
The city will pay the roof repair bill but will be reimbursed by its insurance carrier, Schilling said. The part of the roof being repaired has been inspected.
“They have already, on that portion, they have approved,” he said.
Sebert said a final total will be tabulated and the city will then receive a settlement from the insurance firm. Mitchell belongs to a self-insurance pool with other South Dakota cities and counties.
The city-owned Highland Conference Center, however, is insured by the Hampton Inn and Days Inn, which lease it from the city, he said.
Kelly said some damaged buildings were inspected more than once to determine the true cost of repair.
Kelly said it’s been a long process because of the scope of the damage locally and elsewhere.
“This was a pretty significant event,” she said. “They are all over the state; it wasn’t just Mitchell.
“We learned a lot how to manage such a significant event,” she said. “I think the pool has done a great job.”