State agrees to cover cost of exterior damage to Springs Senior Center

Photo by Brett Nachtigall/Fall River County Herald-Star

Cracks in the facade of Springs Senior Center were some of the first signs of problems earlier this year when it was later discovered that the front half of the building had settled as much as 3.5 inches lower than the back half of the building. Repairs are currently underway to raise the foundation back up to its original elevation.


By Brett Nachtigall


HOT SPRINGS – Earlier this spring, members of the Springs Senior Citizen Center discovered some shards of broken glass on the floor and on a desk in an office located in the northeast corner of their building, located at 206 S. Chicago.

They soon realized the glass came from a fractured window tile block above, which had broken due to some severe cracking in the building’s front facade. Soon afterwards, more symptoms of the damage to the building’s foundation and facade became apparent, as the front door would no longer open and close appropriately. They were soon forced to permanently close-off their front entrance and have patrons use their side door.

According to Senior Citizen Center Board President Dan Harley, two different companies were contacted to perform tests that would assess the damages, which, at the time, were presumably exacerbated by the downtown road construction project. Harley said Rapid Foundation Repair measured a 3.5-inch drop in elevation from the center of the building to the northeast corner, with similar measurements all across the front of the building. The estimate for repairs to the foundation and exterior was around $50,000.

While Harley admitted that some of issues with the building were due to its age and normal settling, he said the fact that the sidewalk had been removed last winter and exposed the foundation for an extended period of time played a large role in making the situation worse. He also pointed out how the new sidewalk had been built lower than the curb and was causing water to puddle in front of their door.

Harley said members of the Springs Citizen Center then met with officials with the City of Hot Springs and South Dakota Department of Transportation where the Center explained their situation and asked for some assistance, as a claim to their own insurance company was denied. 

In his application for assistance, Harley stated how the Springs Senior Citizen Center is a hub of community services and how the damages have forced them to alter how they serve area residents. He said Meals on Wheels serves more than 100 meals per day (five days per week) out of their kitchen, and how every Friday, the location also serves as the Drivers License exam station. In addition, the Center also hosts several club meetings, which many of their 140 members utilize on a regular basis.

Ultimately, the SD-DOT took responsibility for the damages, Harley said, and agreed to pay about 95 percent of the foundation and facade repairs. Those repairs began last week and are expected to only take a couple of weeks, but they have forced the Drivers License exams to be halted for a couple of weeks. They will resume next Friday, Sept. 1.

A series of 18 steel piers are being utilized in the process to raise the sunken foundation. Holes are being dug around three sides of the front half of the building, where piers will be placed and then driven downward until they hit solid ground or bedrock. Once dug in, they will jack up the building to the appropriate elevation .

While the exterior damages are being addressed, there are still an estimated $20,000 in damages that the Senior Center has agreed to pay so they can fix the problems inside the building, caused by the settling foundation. These things include repairing cracks in the interior walls, as well as some interior structural issues and also some new carpet, which had to be removed to access the floor damage. Thus far, the center has raised just over $1,000 to go towards those repairs, so about $19,000 is still needed.

To donate to the interior repairs, or to offer assistance with a fundraiser of some kind, call the Center at 605-745-6123.

Fall River County Herald Star

EDGEMONT OFFICE: 410 2nd Avenue   Edgemont, SD 57735-0660 | 605.662.7201
HOT SPRINGS OFFICE: 334 S. Chicago St.  Hot Springs, SD 57747 | 605.745.3930
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