New floor brings new life to Shell Hall

Lisa Kunkel

The historic Shell Community Hall has a new floor. Gone is the wood and in its place is a concrete slab. 

“The renovation has been a very long and hard project for the hall,” said Shell Hall board president Jessica Hartman. “With such a massive project comes its ups and downs for sure. The beginning for the project went fast. Thanks to everyone who came out to help Dan Anders with removing the floor, it made his job so much easier and faster,” she added. 

With the removal of the floor, revealed more issues than were anticipated. “As everyone was able to see in the last update in the paper we had areas in the building where the building was no longer together. The wood walls had rotted and therefore fell apart. That there put a damper on the project,” said Hartman. 

In regards to the source of the wood rot, “I believe it was the water build up next to the building from the snowpack off the roof and the water line that was uncapped. There should not be a problem now since they removed them and reinforced it with concrete,” Hartman said. 

Ultimately three sections of the wall were worse than the board foresaw. “They guys at Sterling Enterprise dealt with one curve ball after another and did the best they could to keep us at a budget we were able to afford,” she added. 

The crew was also able to get the railroad ties removed and replaced with steel beams, “to keep our walls from buckling,” she said. “Then the concrete was poured, afterward there was another location that was found under the stage where the foundation was cracked and crumbling so of course that had to be fixed. They did a fantastic job and now we have a floor and a foundation that will last longer than our beloved building herself.”

With the updates to the Hall there are other things that are concerning the board that will need to be addressed in the future. “We have to figure out a way to deter water from gathering around the building as the rain falls or the snow melts, initially you're like well let's get gutters, right? Well that's not the case here because of the way the grade is on the roof if and when the snowpack falls it will rip the gutters right off. So we are going to have to address this problem in the future,” said Hartman. 

Yes the board is still raising funds, “I feel the hall will always and forever be fundraising, as a non-profit organization we need the help from our community members and what better way to love a place then to see your money and hard work be put towards the remodeling or beautifying this wonderful building,” said Hartman.

“Thank you again to our wonderful and generous donors,” Hartman said. 

Additional updates include having a door built for the front of the building, “and when all is said and done it will make for a grand entrance for any bride on her wedding day or a little girl for her birthday or a graduate on the day of their celebration. We are so happy and excited to be able to be a part of this project even through the ups and downs, in the end we all win,” she added. 

The public is invited to view the new floor and share a meal at the end of the month. “Our next public event is a BBQ on Sunday, July 31st from 12-2 pm. The hall will provide burgers and hotdogs and some drinks as well. We do ask for people to bring side dishes or desserts,” Hartman said. 

For those interested in renting the hall, the current contact is Jen Thon, of Shell, at 307-272-5202. 

Public feedback suggests the board is on the right track. At the recent PEAKS to Conga event, Laurie Parker who rented the hall for the silent auction said, “It was definitely cooler feeling,” of the new floor. 

“It’s looking pretty good,” said Stan Flitner, “I think it’s the biggest project we’ve seen at the hall.” 

Ultimately, it was a $125,000 project. “That’s a lot of money,” said Flitner, “Basin, Greybull and Shell responded with their checkbooks. We had a lot of help. What a great tribute to the community, the hall means so much to them.” Flitner added a thanks to all who have donated their time serving on the board and those who donated funds.