$7.2M Corn Palace renovation underway in Mitchell

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Farm Forum

MITCHELL, S.D. (AP) — Construction has begun on a $7.2 million makeover of the Corn Palace tourist attraction in Mitchell.

The project will be done in two phases. The City Council last month awarded a nearly $4 million construction bid for the first phase, and work is underway this week, The Daily Republic newspaper reported.

“It’s been a long process and a long time coming, so to actually get started feels a little bit surreal, but very, very positive,” said Mitchell Convention and Visitors Bureau Director Jacki Miskimins.

The large corncob murals on the front of the building have been stripped, and many of the wood panels beneath will be replaced, Deputy Public Works Director Terry Johnson said.

The work will necessitate the closing of the building’s main entrance, with the box office moved to a temporary entrance.

The upgrade to the Corn Palace will include new domes and lighting, larger murals and a walk-out balcony above the marquee. Changes will be made to the exterior of the building during the first phase. The existing City Hall attached to the north side of the Corn Palace will be vacated and renovated to include exhibits and a theater in the second phase. A new City Hall will be built in southern downtown Mitchell.

The Corn Palace bills itself as the world’s only palace dedicated to the grain. New murals using about 275,000 ears of corn of various sizes and colors decorate the exterior and interior of the facility each year. About 200,000 tourists visit the attraction each year.