TELLURIDE – Christmas may be over, but Telluride can look forward to a rather large present in 2013, as the Town of Telluride, San Miguel County and Telluride Film Festival partner to retrofit the Town Park Pavilion and Hanley Rink into a multi-use facility that can double as an indoor theater and concert venue.
The project was fast-tracked last fall, when TFF offered to contribute $750,000 to enclose the Pavilion and make other improvements by August 2013 so that it could be used as an ancillary venue to screen films for its upcoming 40th anniversary season. Town officials had initially planned on more modest improvements over a five-year period using a phased approach with some projects slated for 2013 and the bulk of enclosure occurring later.
As it stands now, the budget for fast-tracked 2013 improvements is $1.75 million, and includes TFF’s generous donation plus $75,000 from San Miguel County to purchase multi-use flooring for the facility. The Town of Telluride is on the hook to pay for the remainder of the project out of its own capital fund.
But with preliminary cost estimates for the first phase of the project coming in much higher that expected, the Telluride Town Council must decide at its upcoming meeting in January whether to postpone some elements that are not essential to the film festival until a later date, in order to keep the project under-budget.
The existing Town Park Pavilion/Hanley Rink was constructed in 2004 for about $3 million through a combination of grant funds and a voter-approved bond. It is a semi-enclosed facility with openings on the south, west, and north sides. The Pavilion is currently used as an ice rink in the winter months (November through March) with limited additional athletic activities and special events throughout the year, including lacrosse, soccer, and Little League practice when outdoor fields aren’t dry.
Once the structure is enclosed, its fundamental nature will change, and the town will most likely have to refund a $170,000 Great Outdoors Colorado grant awarded to the project when it was originally constructed a decade ago. GOCO’s mission is oriented strictly toward outdoor recreation.
“We don’t want to do anything that makes us ineligible for GOCO grants in the future,” noted Telluride Parks and Recreation Manager Stephanie Jaquet.
The Pavilion project is envisioned to take place in three tiers, allowing improvements to be phased as funds become available. Tier 1 calls for retrofitting the structure so that it can be used as an 850-seat theater for the 2013 Telluride Film Festival. Tiers 2 and 3 would implement a whole laundry-list of additional improvements that would make the Pavilion better-suited for lots of different kinds of recreational and athletic activities and events.
A Project Management Team consisting of Jaquet and Rick Herrington from the Parks and Recreation Department, Parks and Recreation Commission member Dave Lamb, Town Planning Department staff member Bob Mather and TFF staff member Brandt Garber has been meeting since early September to prioritize what exactly will be incorporated into this list.
Beyond the initial Tier 1 retrofit, future proposed improvements include the construction of a movable, portable stage, designated rooms for referees and coaches, a buildout on south side of the structure for an outdoor covered plaza, catering infrastructure, lobby improvements, technology upgrades, showers which could be accessible from the outside to accommodate campground users, an ice cover to allow events other than ice skating to take place inside the Pavilion during the winter season, and more.
“The idea is to provide flexibility so as much use as possible can be made of the space,” Jaquet said.
The Town released an RFQ for a design/build team to approximately 65 local architects and contractors in October, and eventually awarded the Pavilion contract to Bone Construction and architect Connie Giles.
Meeting with this design/build team and the Parks and Recreation Commission last week, the PMT reached a crossroads, when it became apparent through value engineering of the project’s conceptual plan and cost estimate that full implementation of Tier 1 would put the project significantly over-budget.
After a lot of discussion, the PMT agreed on two alternate sets of plans and cost estimates – a master plan for a full buildout, and conceptual plan for partial buildout within budget. These two plans will be presented to council for discussion at its meeting on Tuesday, Jan. 8, along with a request to reevaluate the maximum occupant load to “try and get closer to 2,000 than 1,000,” said Jaquet.
Full buildout of Tier 1 calls for enclosing the Pavilion and constructing two additions – a North Addition adding extra dressing rooms and bathrooms to the facility and a West Addition for TFF’s projection booth and storage. Full build-out would cost $2,526,975 – significantly more than the $1.75 million which the town had budgeted toward this phase.
A scaled-back partial build-out of Tier 1 incorporates only those improvements which are considered to be essential to the Telluride Film Festival, and would come in slightly under budget at $1,749,000, but would delay construction of the North Addition until a later date.
The PMT proposes to slash several other items from the Tier 1 wish list as well, including improvements to sound and lighting systems that are not affordable at this time.
In the interest of making the retrofitted Pavilion as flexible a space as possible, the initial plan called for operable openings (similar to garage doors), which could make the space weather tight and provide security for events, but could also be opened back up when so desired, especially in the winter when it makes more sense to keep the rink partially open to the elements to keep it cool for the sake of ice maintenance.
This concept was jettisoned, in the short-term at least, for budgetary reasons. The PMT determined that complete enclosure and insulation on the south wall will provide better energy efficiency.
Other proposed additions to the facility, such as a fitness center, have also fallen by the wayside.
Construction on Tier 1 of the Pavilion project is set to begin in mid to late March and must be completed by early August, adding a sense of urgency to the planning process.
The Telluride Film Festival celebrates its 40th Anniversary from Aug. 29 through Sept. 2, 2013. To commemorate this special occasion an additional day has been added to the usual four-day Festival, making room for five days’ worth of special programming and festivities. Passes are available for purchase beginning in March 2013.