The project is coming along. Soon the World War II Memorial Hall in New England will be equipped with a fully-functional lift elevator and entrance ramp.
By Cole Benz
For more than an year, New England resident Ruth Fitterer has been working diligently towards getting this project completed. She has been prominent in raising money and navigating grants to get the funds necessary for construction.
A community meeting was first held in the basement of the hall on Jan. 7, 2015. There the architects from GT Architecture in Dickinson were available for questions and presented their plans for constructing space for the elevator.
The meeting was also attended by Mayor Marty Opdahl, New England City Auditor Jason Jung and New England City Councilman Tom Gorek, along with roughly a dozen other city residents.
Now, as of April 7, 2016, the project is midway through completion.
As of this printing, the men’s bathroom has been redesigned and remodeled to allow the elevator chute some space. The ramp leading to the basketball court of the hall has been torn out and the top portion of the elevator chute has been raised to the top floor. Evidence of the previous ramp is visible by the removal of the wall material.
The old ticket booth that sat on the right as you enter the building has been turned into an electrical room that will house the proper power sources for the lift elevator.
New doors for areas on the lower level have been ordered, and a few of the archways are scheduled to be expanded to adhere to the American Disabilities Act standards.
Though the process has been slow, Fitterer said it has been going smooth. According to her, they have not encountered any problems since they began tearing into the building’s walls during construction.
Fitterer said that it has taken a little longer than anticipated, but added it can be hard to gather all of the contractors at the same time, especially when they are finishing different projects at different times.
There is no set timeline for completion, they will just continue working until they are finished, according to Fitterer.
The last piece of the project will be the concrete work on the outside of the building, and Fitterer said that’s what will probably finishes up the whole effort.
She said that the elevator will be operational before every little detail of the project is finished. New England City Auditor previously told The Herald that they hope to hold voting in the hall this year. The primary election is June 14.
A substantial amount of funding and grants have been gathered for the project, but Fitterer said more donations are always appreciated.