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Rebuilding underway at Elks Lodge destroyed in tornado - KOAM TV 7

Rebuilding underway at Elks Lodge destroyed in tornado

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The Joplin Elks Lodge destroyed by the May 22, 2011 tornado is being rebuilt.

The Elks Lodge on 26th Street took a direct hit from the tornado.  Three members and a bartender were killed.

Now, 15 months later, a more modern design is taking shape.

The Lodge that once sat back on top of the hill is now part of it.

The lower level includes a ballroom and a lodge meeting room that doubles as a storm shelter because of its all concrete enforced walls.

Lodge trustees say the construction is on schedule.

Insurance is covering more of the more than $2 million rebuild, except the parking lot which was needed at the old facility.

Insurance had been increased before the tornado after a previous wind storm tore away the roof.

With a history of being a weather target the Lodge wanted the new building's location shifted.

"The main thing was we really didn't want to go back on the same pad," says Mike Sweeton, a trustee with Joplin Elks Lodge 501  "We lost the roof in a straight line wind back in '09, called an inland hurricane, and had just gotten it back on and been in it eight or 10 months when the tornado occurred.  We wanted to do something special, something different, maybe something that hadn't been seen here."

The Elks Lodge hopes to rent the facility for parties and receptions with the new ballroom.  It will also include a bar and restaurant.

Right now construction could be completed by late October or early November.

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