The Teutopolis Knights of Columbus Hall is being demolished to make room for a new hall.
Demolition will take around a couple of weeks, according to John Bushur of the Knights of Columbus Building Association Board of Directors. The organization will not salvage any of the current structure to be incorporated into the new hall.
A devastating fire took place at the banquet hall on March 23. Structural damage was estimated at about $2 million and damage to the contents at more than $250,000. The area of origin was determined to be in the south hallway leading from the kitchen, with the area of ignition above the ceiling, the investigation revealed.
According to Teutopolis Fire Chief Tim McMahon, the structural damage included warping of several steel beam components of the roof directly above the kitchen area with heavy fire damage throughout the kitchen and adjoining area. There was heavy smoke damage throughout the entire facility
The location was a popular venue for gatherings and wedding receptions.
Bushur said the organization is finalizing plans, but the tentative goal is to have the new hall betwen 2,000 and 3,000 square feet larger than the old one. He said that they are planning to make the bar area larger and make the banquet hall so that it can be divided.
Bushur said that that they plan to start building in late October to early November. Officials hope to have it done by late summer 2020. Insurance will pay for the construction of the new building.
Meanwhile, Bushur said that the Knights of Columbus are opening a temporary bar in old Habing Furniture building. He said that they are hoping to open that space within the next month.
Tom Weber, a Teutopolis Knights of Columbus member, said he is glad that the organization is rebuilding.
“The Knights of Columbus does a lot for this town,” he said. “It’s always a good place to go down and visit your friends.”
Jerry Runde has confidence that the new hall will be better than ever.
“We’re in good hands,” he said. “I’ve seen preliminary sketches and am anxiously waiting to see what it will look like completed.”
Teutopolis Village President Greg Hess said the fire was a tragedy because the Knights of Columbus are an integral part of the community.
“I think the Knights of Columbus and village residents wanted to build it bigger and better than before and they will do so,” he said.
Kaitlin Sarver had planned to have her wedding reception at the old hall.
“I was pretty bummed when it burned down because we were looking forward to having our wedding reception there,” she said. “Plus it was hard to find a place in that short amount of time that wasn’t already booked, would hold all our guests, not cost a fortune and would let us have our reception there since it wasn’t a Catholic wedding.”
Sarver thankfully was able to have her reception at the Stewardson Community building.
Kurt Weber, also a Knights of Columbus member joined, the organization in 1971 and had his wedding there in 1977.
“I look forward to the new hall and having more fun there,” he said.