Events center committee considers two building designs
After ruling out a renovation, expansion or addition at the Corn Palace, the city of Mitchell's Events Center Building Committee is awaiting cost estimates for two arena designs that could be built near the Palace or anywhere else there is a bloc...
After ruling out a renovation, expansion or addition at the Corn Palace, the city of Mitchell's Events Center Building Committee is awaiting cost estimates for two arena designs that could be built near the Palace or anywhere else there is a block's worth of space.
The primary differences between the two alternatives are their floor-space measurements and seating types.
One design features a roughly 50-50 split of retractable and fixed seating, which would allow for 5,500 seats when configured for maximum capacity and 26,000 square feet of floor space when configured for floor events. It could be built anywhere there is a city block's worth of space and could also fit into the partial block south of the Corn Palace if the Masonic Temple were to remain standing.
The other design has about 80 percent retractable seating, which would grow the maximum amount of floor space to 42,000 square feet but would shrink the seating capacity to 5,100. It could be built anywhere there is a block's worth of space but could not fit directly south of the Corn Palace if the Masonic Temple were to remain standing.
The committee is working with Puetz Corporation, a Mitchell-based construction and architecture firm.
"The next goal," said Jon Schmitz, of Puetz, "is to find out if we can be under the $15 million budget with either or both designs."
Cost estimates are expected to be ready within three weeks, said Mark Puetz, who said the committee will then "decide upon which design they want and go from there." If an arena design is chosen, a next step would be deciding on a location. The committee said it will first focus on sites directly across the street to the south, east and northeast of the Corn Palace.
Current efforts to expand Mitchell's arena space began with the South Dakota High School Activities Association's March 2005 declaration that the 3,200-seat Corn Palace was too small to host state tournaments. In September 2007, local voters rejected a property tax increase that would have helped fund construction of a $25 million, 7,000-seat arena along the state Highway 37 bypass in northern Mitchell.
The Events Center Building Committee resumed its work in September 2008. Committee members set a budget of $15 million, which is what committee chairman and City Councilman Allen Lepke said the city could afford to spend without raising taxes. With the approval of the City Council, the committee selected Puetz Corporation to help determine the feasibility of a Corn Palace expansion or renovation.
In November, the committee and Puetz Corporation announced that neither a Corn Palace expansion nor renovation could accomplish the committee's goals. Those goals include spending $15 million or less for a structure with at least 5,000 seats and 30,000 square feet of floor space.