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Concrete pours into Palace

A construction worker watches as concrete is poured Friday on the third floor of the Corn Palace, where a staircase was removed earlier as part of a a two-phase, nearly $7.2 million renovation of the city-owned arena and tourist attraction. (Chris Mueller/Republic)

Construction workers have spent months removing tens of thousands of pounds of concrete from inside the Corn Palace as part of a two-phase, nearly $7.2 million renovation.

On Friday, they started pouring concrete back into the city-owned tourist attraction.

Dave Epp, a project manager with Mueller Lumber, said the concrete was poured on the third floor of the Corn Palace to fill in areas where staircases were removed earlier in the renovation.

To get the concrete to the third floor, workers used a pump to send the concrete up about 50 feet from the street in front of the Corn Palace.

A new staircase will eventually be built and provide access to the third floor, Epp said. For now, a ladder is the only way for workers to get between the second and third floors of the Corn Palace.

"After we're done here, there is only going to be one entrance to the third floor," Epp said.

So far, Epp said workers have removed at least 50 tons, or 100,000 pounds, of concrete from the Corn Palace, including about 63,000 pounds removed when a portion of the ceiling, which also served as the floor of the second floor, above the main entryway was removed over about three or four days.

Once the renovation is finished, new, unique light fixtures will hang high above the entryway in that space, near a second-floor walkway that will lead visitors past a gallery of Oscar Howe's designs for past corn murals and outside, to a walk-out balcony above the marquee.