LARNED — Local concerns about the status of the Rodeway Inn in Larned were visibly allayed this week when work began on the roof of the structure. The motel has been closed for nearly a year after a lightning strike and fire caused extensive damage to the building’s upper floor and attic.
The repair and renovations to the building are expected to continue through May with the intent to reopen the business to the public by mid-June to July, noted Nick Patel, manager of the Rodeway located at 802 E. 14th St. Joiner Construction in Ellinwood has been contracted to effect repairs, Patel noted.
“Our timeline depends on the weather, but by middle of June or possibly July is my plan,” Patel said.
With completion of the roof and attic portion by the end of the week, construction can then commence on replacing the second-story rooms, which had since the fire been gutted for replacement. After that, comes electrical and the mechanicals, HVAC and plumbing.
A lightning strike during a thunderstorm at midnight May 17, 2022, was blamed for causing the fire at the Rodeway. The fire, which took approximately 3-1/2 hours for Larned firefighters to extinguish, did extensive damage to the attic and second-floor interiors, with minimal damage visible outside.
There were 22 guests booked for overnight stay, who were all evacuated safely within 45 minutes of responder arrival.
The motel was then immediately closed, impacting a fully booked Memorial Day weekend whose major events included Larned High School’s five-year All-School Reunion and the local Santa Fe Trail Days.
A welcome return
Larned City Manager Brad Eilts noted that the Rodeway’s return adds a significant contribution to the U.S. 56 eastern entrance to the community. “Our northeast corridor entrance is looking pretty good,” Eilts said. Renovations and new construction have dominated the eastern side of 14th Street for the past three years, with Big R’s succession to the former Shopko building and the relocation and upgrade to Dollar General, now DG Market, which is currently continuing its move-in.
“We’re excited that work on the Rodeway has begun, because there were concerns about the timeline after the fire,” Eilts said. He noted that the city has been in continuous contact with Patel and Rodeway about the status of the motel.
“We’re looking forward to the time when it’s back up and running,” Eilts said.