Corn Palace Preservation Study

The future of the historic Corn Palace in Mitchell, S.D., will be the subject of an upcoming study by a Minneapolis firm.

Mitchell officials hired Meyer, Scherer & Rockcastle to determine whether the 90-year-old building can be saved and updated to meet modern codes and standards.

The study, for which the city will pay $115,000, will also examine the areas surrounding the 3,250-capacity venue and how “a park, plaza or outdoor Corn Palace function” could be constructed to expand the use of the facility.

Previous attempts by city officials to construct a modern arena were rejected by Mitchell voters, and talks of expanding the venue were also ruled out because the Corn Palace would have to close during renovations.

However, as the years have ticked by, it appears some groups in the city have come around to the idea of expansion.

Doug Dailey, chairman of a Corn Palace Area Development board, told the Argus Leader his group prefers not to tear down the building.

“The Corn Palace as we have it now is recognizable all over the country and the world,” he said. “If we can keep it as much as we can, we’d like to do that to preserve the recognition of it. But then we want to increase its footprint, its size and make it better.”

But he added that if the venue assessment concludes the Corn Palace’s life expectancy is nearing its end, then “we’d have to tear it down and start over.”

The study is scheduled to wrap by early 2012 and Meyer, Scherer & Rockcastle will present a master plan for the venue. Mitchell voters could once again be asked to weigh in on renovation or expansion, Dailey said.