Elks membership gives go ahead for new lodge building
By Kyle Vuille
Ranger-Review Staff Writer
The Glendive Elks Chapter #1324 is moving forward with plans to build a new lodge, restaurant, bar and casino.
The Elks met last week to vote on moving forward with the new lodge. According to Elks Exalted Ruler Dennis Zander, there were naysayers among the Elks, but the project was easily passed with well over a two-thirds vote.
With local membership support behind the project, the group is waiting for final approval from the Grand Lodge as well as finalizing building permits with the city.
On Monday, Zander and Bob Stanhope, Elks trustee and chairman of the building committee, revealed the blueprints for the new Elks lodge.
The Elks have been without an official lodge facility since 2014. The Elks settled into a booth at the fairgrounds in order to keep their liquor license and occasionally meet at Glendive’s Trap Club.
According to Zander, the old lodge had become an issue for a myriad of reasons. The first and foremost reason for leaving was the fact the meeting room was upstairs, which made access difficult.
The old building also had numerous heating and other maintenance issues. Zander said the Elks were just getting “nickel and dimed” for all the repairs.
“The bulk of the members said that ship had sailed,” Stanhope said, referring to keeping the old building going.
The building plan was designed by senior architecture students at MSU Bozeman and Architecture Trio Inc.
Architecture Trio is in charge of finalizing construction plans and costs. The estimated cost of the new lodge is approximately $1.465 million. The Elks own the land where the facility will be built which sits behind Yellowstone River Drive across the street from P-Tech and MS Energy. According to Stanhope, the Elks are putting a portion of the project down through the organization’s savings and financing the rest through a lender.
The new location has a view of the Yellowstone River and will have better parking options than the old lodge, according to Stanhope.
The new 11,000-square foot building will include numerous features, including a bar, restaurant and casino. The building is one level so climbing stairs will no longer be an issue.
The casino/bar are also separate from the dining and reception areas.
“Overall functionality will be better,” Stanhope said.
The restaurant and assembly area will combine for maximum banquet seating capacity of 250. The bar will seat an additional 104 patrons, with additional seating in the casino and patio.
An outdoor patio will overlook the Yellowstone River and the patio connects to the bar inside.
Because the next step in the process is out of their hands, approval by the Grand Lodge, local Elks can only guess when construction will begin.
“Wishful thinking would be Oct. 1,” Stanhope said, referring to breaking ground on the new lodge.
According to Zander, Glendive’s Elks chapter has 173 current paid members and Elks officials expect those numbers to rise with the opening of the new lodge.
“A lot of members who weren’t paid up were waiting to see if this was going to pan out before they paid their dues,” Zander said.
Stanhope and Zander also noted that an advantage of becoming an Elk member in Glendive is the dues in Glendive are much less than in other parts of the country, but once you’re a member, you are granted access to all Elks lodges. Zander mentioned the amount of travelers and snowbirds that are active Elks members across the nation.
Stanhope also emphasized the new lodge is not only available to Elks members, but will be open to the public and the Elks are encouraging the public to enjoy the new facility.
The Elks currently have a public fundraiser in the form of a raffle to raise funds for the project.
Raffle tickets are $20 apiece for a chance to win three prizes.
The first prize is 20 tons of hay or $1,500 cash. The second prize is a shotgun, and the last prize will be a Traeger pellet grill. Raffle tickets will be drawn Nov. 2.
According to Zander and Stanhope, the Elks are planning additional fundraisers during the construction process and will continue after the construction is complete.
“The Elks are a tax-free organization so donations are encouraged,” Stanhope said.
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