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Masons and Shriners new building near completion

John M. Steiner / The Sun Bob Nustad, project supervisor, looks around at the nearly completed Masonic Lodge Monday. The building project which started about a year ago is being primarily constructed by volunteer labor and donated funds and is expected to be functional in about a month.

In an effort to give back to an organization that helped him, Jim Schumacher built a wall.

Not a wall of Sheetrock or glass but two walls, 10 feet by 40 feet and made of stone.

Schumacher, of Schumacher Construction in Jamestown, is one of the many volunteers who donated materials and labor to the construction project at the Masonic Lodge, located near Jamestown Reservoir.

The construction at the Masonic Lodge is near completion after 51 weeks, 3,000 donated hours, $300,000 and not a borrowed penny, said Bob Nustad, project supervisor for the new lodge.

"It's all paid for as we go," he said.

Once completed, the building will host social functions and other meetings for the Masons and the El Zagal Shriners, he said.

The Masons' mission is to work to make the good man better. The group has about 165 members, said Nick Scherbenske, master of the lodge. After becoming a Mason, a person can become a Shriner.

The El Zagal Shriners raise money for children's hospitals.

That's how Schumacher got involved.

Growing up, Schumacher's son, Jesse, now 20, needed medical assistance. Diagnosed with cerebral palsy, a brain disorder involving movement, learning, hearing, seeing and thinking, physicians at the Shriners Hospital cared for Jesse at no expense to the family.

"That's what we're here for, to help kids and stuff you know?" Nustad said.

The new 8,000 square-foot lodge has a high-ceilinged reception hall with kitchen area and a basement with meeting and utility rooms. But the lodge still needs work before the Masons can use it.

Members and other help plan to Sheetrock, tape, texture, trim and install flooring before the building can open. Nustad said he expects completion by October.

Next spring, the groups plan to build a patio and deck behind the building, where Schumacher installed the retaining wall. That wall is an expression of the family's thanks, he said.

"Our son wouldn't be where he's at without them guys," Schumacher said.

Already, the Masons and Shriners have an event planned that will draw members from across the state. The building will likely host weddings, reunions and other special events, Nustad said.

The original Masonic Temple, located near Third Street Southeast and First Avenue, was sold about two years ago, Scherbenske said, because it cost too much to maintain and renovate the building. The Masons chose to build near the reservoir because the group already owned the land near there.

Sun reporter Katie Ryan can be reached at 701-952-8454 or by e-mail at