History center closed due to water main break
Officials were forced to closed the Steele County History Center on Friday due a water main break that caused significant damage to the building’s front parking.
The center also suffered some minor damage to some meeting and office spaces inside the building, and remained closed through the weekend, but hopes to reopen sometime earlier this week.
“We’re sitting in our offices and we could her water bubbling,” said Stephanie Kibler, meetings and events manager at the Steele County Historical Society. “When you looked out the windows the water was bubbling up from the parking lot. Then at about the same time, you could start to see water start to seep in from underneath one of our meeting room doors.”
Kibler said within 10 minutes there were volunteers at the center helping to clean up the water.
“We know we can count on them,” she said. “We have some of the best volunteers I have ever worked with. I can’t say enough about the people who showed up to help us today. It was an awesome feeling to know you can make a few phone calls and a whole group of people will show up. They are a very dedication group of volunteers.”
Employees and volunteers ended up with four shop-vacs operating simultaneously to alleviate the water.
No computers or any electrical equipment was harmed.
“It wasn’t anything too significant inside the building,” Kibler said. “The concern for us now is that we have to have our front parking lot torn up.”
Kibler estimated the total cost for repair will cost approximately $30,000.
The center closed due to concern that the front parking could potentially collapse because the dirt that holds it up was being pushed up through the cracks and breaks of the concrete.
Officials weren’t sure if the sidewalk sank or parking lot raised, but the parking lot was about an inch higher than the sideway by day’s end.
“When we get that all dug up, I guess we’ll see what they find under there,” KIbler said, adding that this was not something the self-funded historical society budgeted for. “That’s something we will have to discuss at our next board meeting.”