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Work progressing on exposed wall; Council OKs improvements to Events Center
new deh city council building pic
Employees of Brentwood Builders work on the building that sat next to the old opera house at Forest and Williams. The building, owned by Andy Mingenback, has to be stabilized after the opera house was razed last year. - photo by DALE HOGG Great Bend Tribune

In other business Monday night, the Great Bend City Council:

• Approved an ordinance to remove one lot from the Amber Meadows Rural Housing Incentive District. The lot is too small to construct a home on and Mike Stacey purchased it for $38,000 to build a garage on as it is next to his new home, City Administrator Howard Partington said.

Even though Stacey is not eligible for tax breaks from the RHID, he can apply for the Neighborhood Revitalization Plan.

• Approved an abatement at 215 Frey St. for motor vehicle nuisance, owned by Manuel Enriquez.

• Heard an economic development report from Great Bend Chamber of Commerce President Jan Peters. She said most of her day Monday was spent with city and Watco railroad officials, and Kansas Department of Transportation representatives working on the city’s transload facility report, which is due by Dec. 15.

Peters said the local team hopes to be done early.

• Heard a departmental update from City Administrator Howard Partington.

One key item was the introduction of Sara Hamlin as the new supervisor/curator for the Great Bend Brit Spaugh Zoo. She has worked for the zoo for eight months, but has college and professional experience beyond that, Partington said.

It was also noted that the zoo received its first United States Department of Agriculture inspection report in at least seven years that was free of any deficiencies. Hamlin was credited in part for that success.

 A pair of long-running building issues were on the Great Bend City Council agenda Monday night. 

First was an update on the building that shared a wall with the now-demolished old opera house and second was improvements to the Great Bend Events Center.

A shared wall

Andy Mingenback, president of Brentwood Builders of Great Bend and owner of the structure at 2105 Forest, gave an update on the status of the party wall that once separated his building from the one torn down last October. He discussed how he was repairing what is now exposed brick, plaster and stone.

“We’ve gotten started on the project,” Mingenback said. 

Work began on the interior where a temporary support wall has been constructed to prepare for the removal of the damaged common wall, he said. Next, the new exterior wall will be built inside the structure’s property line.

The new wall will be coated and sided, and become the basis for a new exterior for the building.

The opera house building, which was located at Williams and Forest, was also known as the Pitcock Building because it was owned by David and Barbara Pitcock, who still own the property.

The cost of the demolition last year was covered by the city and charged back to the Pitcock’s taxes. 

However, this wasn’t just a matter of tearing the building down, city officials said. The building shared a wall with Mingenback’s building which could have also been damaged during the razing. 

So, the exposed wall of the Mingenback structure needed to be repaired to maintain its structural integrity.

Officials said the opera house was originally built as a free-standing structure. The buildings adjoining it were built up against it, making the shared wall a party wall, which made the demolition extra tricky.

The Events Center

The council also accepted the low bid regarding office improvements at Events Center from Brentwood Builders for $53,172.28. Bids were opened Monday morning.

The plan calls for the remodeling Conference Room A from open space into an office for the Great Bend Convention and Visitors Bureau staff.

The only full wall to be added is the office in the southeast corner. The other wall is more of a divider. A floor to ceiling window will be on the west wall. It will allow employees to see what is going on in the event center lobby, but would have curtains to gain privacy if needed. 

Other improvements include:

• Adding windows to the outside wall of the building.

One window on the east wall of the remodeled office. Two windows on the north wall of the remodeled office. Two to four windows on the north wall of the hallway adjacent to the large hall. A glass fire-rated door and frame between the Events Center and the Office Building will be installed in lieu of the current wooden door to tie the them together.

They want to be able to use the restrooms for overflow during large events and this would make it look like the two facilities were one.

This does not include the removal of the front canopy. That will be a separate bid, City Administrator Howard Partington said.

They have to be careful with the timing of this so as not to interfere with events planned for the facility.

In July, the council hired DMA Architects PA of Salina to design the work to be done at the center.