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Palace rafter work set for summer

With the $4.7 million Corn Palace renovation in the rearview, Mitchell city officials are now working to improve a feature often unseen by the typical visitor.

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With the $4.7 million Corn Palace renovation in the rearview, Mitchell city officials are now working to improve a feature often unseen by the typical visitor.

A $75,000 to $100,000 project to replace the Corn Palace rafters is set to kick off this summer, with all new wood framing, railing and decking to be installed. Bids for the project will be opened on April 21, and Corn Palace Director Scott Schmidt said the work will bring a safer environment for building employees.

"Honestly, it's just trying to enhance and improve the safety of the rafters," Schmidt told The Daily Republic in late March. "I'm not sure if they're the original with the building, but we're just trying to be proactive."

As the site of high school and college basketball games, as well as several concerts each year, Schmidt said the rafters are used to do speaker rigging, adjust wiring or change lights in the Daktronics scoreboards. And while the exterior corn murals and large domes often steal the show, the rafters remain a critical component of the attraction and event center's interior infrastructure.

"Unfortunately, it's the kind of things that need to be checked out if a light goes out or if a Daktronics board isn't working, but our main work up there is when we have concerts, shows up there for the rigging," Schmidt said.

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The replacement work will be completed amid the attraction's peak tourism season, but Schmidt said there will be little impact on the gift shop below the catwalks.

Built into the bid specification, Schmidt said, are plans to do work outside of normal business hours and cut wood outside of the building.
"Our whole goal when we sat down was to try to make sure that nobody even knew there was construction going on other than a few of the soft seats roped off," Schmidt said.

Related Topics: CORN PALACE
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Discussion will take place during the 6 p.m. meeting on Monday at City Hall