Armory deemed unsafe, occupants asked to leaveAfter an Idaho contractor left the Dickinson Armory in less than sound condition, city officials have recommended tenants vacate until the building is repaired, but that could change after a structural engineer reviews the building once more.
After an Idaho contractor left the Dickinson Armory in less than sound condition, city officials have recommended tenants vacate until the building is repaired, but that could change after a structural engineer reviews the building once more.
“The city is actively seeking options so that no one has to move,” said City Administrator Shawn Kessel, adding it hopes to hear as early as this week the success of those options.
City Public Information Officer Bill Fahlsing said the city made a recommendation to the Armory’s tenants to vacate the building due to its present state.
“It was also requested by the city of Dickinson if it is the National Guard’s choice not to vacate the building, the city is requesting a written waiver in the form of a hold harmless agreement,” Fahlsing said.
By signing the agreement, the signee is agreeing he or she has been advised it is the city’s recommendation to vacate and if the party chooses not to do so, the city is not held responsible for anything that may happen as a result of the present condition, Fahlsing said.
“I think until we actually have an opportunity to visit with the structural engineer that wrote that initial report tomorrow, I don’t know which direction we’re going to go yet, quite frankly,” said Col. Steve Tabor of the North Dakota National Guard. “We at this point in time just don’t have enough information yet to decide what we want to do. I guess we’ll just have to wait and see how this plays out before we make those types of decisions.”
Tabor said the structural engineer who inspected the building Oct. 5 and provided a written assessment to city officials dated Nov. 2, didn’t have the building’s original drawings and structural information when the assessment was conducted so other options might be available.
Bismarck firm Ulteig Engineering conducted the assessment and cited load concerns.
The top portion of the roof truss’s high end, which connects to the Armory’s gymnasium, was not connected to any portion of the building and is free to move in a lateral direction, according to Ulteig’s findings dated Nov. 2.
But, if it comes down to the National Guard having to temporarily move, Tabor has concerns.
“I’m not real sure how we’re going to do that,” Tabor said. “I’m pretty sure there isn’t going to be a building in Dickinson that will have everything we need to pick up and move and be lock, stock and barreled.”
The Dickinson Parks and Recreation Department was slated to use the facility for adult volleyball and basketball four days a week beginning the end of November.
Parks and Recreation Director James Kramer said adult basketball leagues were to begin at the Armory at the end of the month.
The department will be checking to see what space is available at area schools and the West River Community Center.
“We’ll do some research with existing facilities of where we can beg, borrow and steal and get some time I guess,” Kramer said.
Adult volleyball is slated to begin the second week in January and Kessel said Monday he has concerns with the facility being fixed by January.
Kramer feels confident a solution will be found.
“It may inconvenience some participants having to play earlier in the evening or later in the evening, but I feel pretty confident that we’ll find a solution and find a home for all the games,” Kramer said.
Once the first of the year arrives, basketball and volleyball are both ongoing and Kramer says the department will “be scrambling for some gym time.”
The department has not been provided a completion date, Kramer said.
Stark County Emergency Manager Brent Pringle said the agency uses it as a designated Red Cross emergency shelter and as a training facility.
Pringle said there are numerous other emergency shelters available in the area if it is deemed the Armory is unusable.
A Red Cross representative said a list of alternate emergency shelters is not releasable information, and in the case of an emergency, individuals should check radio, TV and the Red Cross website.
“Red Cross policy is that we don’t release those because what has happened across the country is that people say ‘Oh this school is next to me, that’s a shelter that’s open,’ and then that isn’t necessarily the shelter that will be open in the disaster,” said Janel Schmitz, Bismarck-based executive director for the American Red Cross, West Dakota Chapter.
The recommendation to vacate will not affect Emergency Management, Pringle said.
The project will be put out for public bid, however, no date has been set, Fahlsing said.
“Although an official date has not been set for the bid for completing this project, it’s the city’s intent to complete this project as soon as possible and the bid will be placed in the very near future,” Fahlsing said.