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  Thursday October 30th, 2014    

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Masonic Temple repairs delayed by questions about structural integrity (10/06/2013)
By Chris Rogers

City Council may approve

engineering study of building

Restoring and protecting the Masonic Temple’s one-of-a-kind collection of painted stage backdrops has long been an aim for the Winona City Council. This year was going to be the first step in that process: fixing the temple’s roof, which has leaked rainwater on the historic theater pieces. However, preservation experts advised the city that, due to the condition of the temple building, a structural engineer should ascertain whether the building’s trusses can bear the load of a new roof.

On Monday, the council will consider a proposal to apply for a $10,000 grant from the Minnesota Historical Society, paired with a pledge of $25,000 in city funds, to pay for the engineering study. The state grant would be awarded in early 2014 and the city contribution would be drawn from $80,000 budgeted for the roof repairs that did not happen, city staff explained.

During a tour of upcoming projects, Park and Recreation Community Chad Ubl showed off the splendid theater and signs of water damage. If the structural engineer’s report determines the building is structurally sound, there is still a long road ahead for renovation efforts. Repairs to the temple include nearly $680,000 for new roofing, tuck pointing, masonry, and windows to make the building watertight, perhaps to be followed by $700,000 to fully restore the unique backdrops.

Ubl will give an update to the council on renovation plans and options at an informational meeting at 5:30 p.m. on Monday in the Wenonah Room at city hall. The council meeting, including a vote on the structural engineering study, will follow at 6:30 p.m. in the council chambers. 

 

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