Memorial Hall hosts informational meeting on the elevator project

On Wednesday, Jan. 7, an informational meeting was held at the Memorial Hall.

Ruth Fitterer (left) and Jared Twogood (right) look over preliminary plans for the future elevator project at the Memorial Hall. A public information meeting was held at Memorial Hall on Jan. 7.
Ruth Fitterer (left) and Jared Twogood (right) look over preliminary plans for the future elevator project at the Memorial Hall. A public information meeting was held at Memorial Hall on Jan. 7.

By COLE BENZ | Herald Editor | cbenz@countrymedia.net

On Wednesday, Jan. 7, an informational meeting was held at the Memorial Hall. The topic of discussion?

A new elevator.

Ruth Fitterer has lead the way to improve not only the structure of the nearly 80 year old building, but the experience its patrons can have there.

For years if you wanted to go throughout the building, you either needed to walk up long steps, or venture up a steep angled ramp.

But this project is hoping to change that.

About a dozen people attended the meeting, including some of the city’s leadership.

Mayor Marty Opdahl, City Auditor Jason Jung and City Councilman Tom Gorek were in attendance.

Also in attendance were Jared Twogood and Derek Twogood, the two architects working on the design of the project from GT Architecture in Dickinson

The meeting began with some introductions and a brief description of the project.

The second portion of the meeting was more hands-on.

Jared and Derek took the group around the building to give the audience a visual display of how and where the future elevator will rest.

The plan is to place the elevator on the right side (when entering the building). The elevator and the utility room will rest where the ramp sits and the right ticket booth is.

On the top level, the exit off the elevator will nearly be the same place as the current door way.

The lower level is going to require more construction work for the exit. The current location of elevator has the exit on the lower part of the building right where the men’s bathroom is. So what they are going to need to do is relocate the stall in the bathroom and adjust the layout to fit everything.

The location of the elevator was strategically placed in order to keep the cost as low as they can, according to Derek Twogood.

“We were looking for a place that would effect the structure the least amount, and also be able to hit all three levels,” Derek said.

Since the foundation or the structure won’t need to be altered significantly, the work should be less and in turn keep the cost down.

Cost of the project is yet to be determined, due to the energy industry boom in the area costs can be inflated and the contractor will have to see what the job entails before a cost can be certain.

The elevator that will be used won’t be an elevator by usual thought. The machine is going to be more of a lift machine. This again is a cheaper, yet viable option for the project. With this type of elevator system, the doors are fixed on each level with only the lift moving from level to level.

“To doors themselves will actually be fixed at each floor,” Derek Twogood said.

Since the work is going to require the building to follow the Americans with Disabilities Act (AMA), some of the doors will need to be changed. Currently the doors in the lower level are 32 inches, to bring it to code, some of the doors will need to be changed to a width of 36 inches, such as the ones leading to the kitchen and dining area.

The start time and completion date is largely dependent on two things. Funding and the contractor.

Currently the group spearheading this is looking into various options of funding, including a grant through Roosevelt Custer.

The contractor will ultimately be the deciding factor in the timeline. After the plans are finalized and the contractor is selected, the architects will work closely with them until the project is finished.

Though the project is in the early stages, the vision is there. The hope is that the elevator will lift spirits and make the Memorial Hall more accessible to more residence of New England.

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