Legion roof repairs begin in Rivers


By Jessie Bell

A portion of the roof on the south side of Rivers Legion Hall was updated and completed recently by contractor van der wal Construction of Rapid City.

The rooftop of the front portion (bingo stage area/clubroom entrance) was flat, requiring snow removal in winter, and it created a drainage problem where it met the quonset-shaped hall. The collection of rain water caused deterioration and subsequent leaking into the upper hall.

Steve van der Wal, Justin MacDonald and Bruce Molberg sloped the roof west and east with a section to the north, covering the angled rafters with metal siding. This portion of roof repair was considered by Branch No. 75 as Phase 1 in regard to the immediate need for overall roof repair. Phase 2 will be shingling the hall building in early spring when temperatures are more suitable for a better seal.

Fundraising for the roof began in September 2013 when the branch held a public supper; three more were held in 2014. This revenue, plus donations and financial support from Legion Ladies Auxiliary, has amounted to approximately $10,000. An application has been made by the branch for a government Community Places grant, in the amount of $30,000. Of this amount, Rivers has received $13,000; the remainder is based on culmination of the project. Financial help will still be needed following completion of the repairs, as interior updating is necessary as well as construction of a new wheelchair ramp.

The hall, measuring 90 by 36 feet, was built in 1957 to replace a building that was destroyed by fire on the same site a year earlier. There is no record of re-shingling this present hall — the weather-beaten three-tab interlocking nailed on shingles are therefore approximately 57 years old.

Some changes to the hall began in 1968 when a downstairs clubroom was built. It was during the 1970s that a 16-foot wide flat roof was added to the south side of the hall (the portion of roof which has been updated). It covered in the outside flight of stairs with a reduced stairway inside, and a ramp to the clubroom. A kitchen was added in 1976 to the west side of the original 1957 hall. Roofing on that addition was replaced in recent years with metal. The lower part of the building was re-sided in 1984 and a wheelchair ramp was built into the upper hall in 1989. 

The 2,000-sqaure-foot hall has served this community for a multitude of uses since its construction. The hall has been made available for many social gatherings and meetings. The floor has withstood packed crowds for monthly dances and of course, New Year’s Eve. 

The branch has supported many town needs such as cash donations for its first ambulance, fire department equipment, schools, library, sports and handi-transit, to name a few. In turn, the legion deserves support in order to faithfully continue serving this community.