The challenge was to find a method to save part of Hampton’s history and do the right thing with public projects, while preserving the band shell. The band shell was constructed in 1959 with clay tile flat arch system that was badly damaged due to the continual exposure to Iowa’s weather. By 2010 the building was very near the point of removal from the town square due the deteriorating condition of the stage floor.

Brian Stevens, Hampton Municipal Band Director for over 30 years, was not happy. Kyle Munson from the Des Moines Register writes about these kinds of stories, and wrote a moving piece about the uncertain future of the Band Shell. This article got RDG’s attention, and challenged their design interest to find a cost effective solution to save a community landmark.

RDG proposed a geotechnical solution, that did not replace the clay tile structure but strengthen the existing stage floor by inserting structural fill in the crawl space under the stage. This basically converted the structural clay tile floor system that spans between walls to slab on grade and prevented the demolition of this local landmark structure. RDG’s approach was twofold; first a low cost solution that provided the City of Hampton a chance to raise funds to save the band shell, and second, propose funding options for grants that relate to the historical buildings and structures to supplement funding for the project.

The City Council said they would fund up to $30,000 with the stipulation that work would not start until all the money had been raised. The fundraising began on July 6. It was strictly a grassroots program and the community gave and gave and gave. Stevens and retired Hampton-Dumont band director Leon Kuehner hosted a playathon on August 9. They would play if people would pledge. It was streamed live online and money came in from all over the world. Australia, soldiers in Iraq, people saw it on twitter and Facebook and the common man gave. Past students showed up to play with them. They played all day. By the end of the day $90,000 in total had been raised. In fact, it took only five weeks for a community of 4,000 to raise that money, and work could begin.

The floor was stabilized for the season, and as money continued to flow in, work picked back up the next summer. The front arch was fixed and painted, existing doors were repaired, wood arch supports looked better. The construction teams remained true to the original plans and conformance to preservations standards. A Grand Re-Opening Rededication of the Band Shell was held June 5, 2012.