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Wadena County 4-H building passes inspection, grandstand could cost $250k to $300k to replace

Consulting structural engineers Solien & Larson Engineering, P.C., conducted a visual inspection of the Dairy Barn, 4-H building and grandstand at the Wadena County Fairgrounds. Findings of the preliminary condition assessment, in the opinion of state-licensed professional engineer Douglas Sharbono, said that the dairy barn was suitable for occupancy after completing some structural repairs. Necessary repairs before the fair happened included lifting and resetting existing interior wood columns and removing an abandoned masonry chimney. Recommendations for more permanent repairs to bring the dairy barn back to original design strength will be provided, pending a more complete structural conditions assessment.

The remaining portions of the 4-H building are found to be structurally adequate and suitable for occupancy. The 4-H building was found to be able to withstand the tornado due to its location relative to the path of the tornado and the construction of the original building.

Engineers found the grandstand to be not salvageable and inadequate for occupancy. The estimated cost for reconstruction of permanent grandstands is between $250,000 and $300,000. However, at the Wadena County Board of Commissioners meeting of July 22, County Ag Society President Sheldon Monson stated to the board that actual ownership of the grandstands was unclear. A lease agreement signed in 1974 stated that ownership was divided equally between the city of Wadena, the county of Wadena and the Ag Society. City officials did not sign the agreement nor had record of ownership of such. A 2000 lease agreement, stating equal ownership between the city, county and Ag Society once again, was not fully executed, lacking signatures of both county and city officials.

At the time of the board of commissioners meeting, the city did not indicate any ownership of the grandstands.

Financial responsibility for reconstruction of the grandstands is still unclear, as only the Ag Society carried insurance for the structure, in the amount of $19,790.

Wadena County Auditor/Treasurer Char West, Ag Society President Sheldon Monson and other officials will research the issue and present findings at a later board meeting.