Just in time for tourist season, the Corn Palace has completed two projects to update the look of the city's biggest tourist attraction.
They include replacing a portion of the wooden basketball court surface and the addition of exterior lights.
The Corn Palace annually hosts many events, ranging from the Corn Palace Festival to Mitchell High School's graduation. This year alone brought more than 170 events onto the basketball court, which is checked constantly for wear. Building staff recently noticed that portions of the wooden logo were cracking and starting to splinter.
Replacing the damaged wood turned out to be the cheapest repair option.
"It was actually more expensive for us to just repair the wood and repaint that [old] logo than it would have been to replace the wood and sand it all down and get the new logo painted," Corn Palace Director Scott Schmidt said Wednesday.
About 100 pieces of wood were replaced, and the newly painted logo now matches the brand standard of the city.
The second project included the rewiring of lights on the Corn Palace and the addition of light poles to the plaza. It was an extensive project, so the updates were completed in two phases.
"Light poles in the Corn Palace Plaza were added basically to coincide with the lights we already have on the front of the Corn Palace," Schmidt said. "The lights that surround the murals and the lights on the building were all rewired and put on a dimmer system, so we have the ability to adjust the brightness."
The dimmer system creates more opportunities for display. Already, the Corn Palace has taken advantage of this by creating a coordinated light-and-sound show that plays every night, starting at 8:30 p.m. and ending at 10:30 p.m.
"The other aspect we wanted to fix was that our visitors can see the murals and see what the Corn Palace has to offer," Schmidt explained. "It's a very unique building, and no one else decorates a building with murals of corn. We thought the new updates were something the visitors and residents of South Dakota deserve."