A new place to go: Wagner bathrooms almost done
Aspen should have a bathroom facility at the edge of Wagner Park ready just in time for Saturday’s USA Rugby National Championship game.Although some finishing touches will be missing from the new bathroom complex, builders say the bottom line is functional, flushing toilets will be ready for the championship game as well as the Aspen Food & Wine Classic the following weekend.”We have a lot left to do, but we’re on schedule to get everything accomplished for a cleanup on Saturday,” said Dan Johns, owner of Roaring Fork Construction, the contractor for the project.Workers were installing tile and doors on Monday, and the floor of the women’s bathroom was completed in the afternoon.”We expect to be here on Friday flushing toilets and making sure all the sinks work,” said Aspen parks planner Scott Chism, manager for the so-called “Wagner Park Edge” project. The project should receive a certificate of occupancy from the city building department on Thursday, indicating that it is legally able to be used.Although Johns said he only heard of Wagner Park serving as the venue for the 2002 national rugby championship a week ago, he said his deadline for the project has always been June 7.A full day of rugby is scheduled for Saturday, and beer will be sold, so a need to have working bathrooms could be critical.The Gentlemen of Aspen Rugby Football Club faces Los Angeles-based Belmont Shore in Saturday’s final. While the Gents are seeking a sixth straight U.S. title, the match will be the first time a national championship is decided on the Gents’ home field, which has been used for Ruggerfest since 1968.The team practices on both Wagner Field and the Rio Grande field, which is the reason for Aspen’s two sets of goal posts. The Gents will be training for the national championship game at Wagner Field today, Wednesday and Thursday.Also on Monday, the chain-link fence that surrounded the Wagner project was taken down, and the park was formally opened, said Tom Rubel, operations manager for the parks department. A small section of grass on the field’s southeast side is still closed off to allow some new sod to take root.Otherwise, Rubel said the field is completely ready for Saturday’s championship game, the first of its kind in Aspen.”The field is in as good of shape as it’s ever been since I’ve worked here,” Rubel said.Details of the project that may not be completed by the Food & Wine Classic include some photovoltaic roofing, a type of solar paneling that will produce more power than the facility uses. Chism said the two touch-screen computer monitors that explain the roofing concept on the outside of the building will also probably not be installed by next weekend.The bathroom complex includes six stalls in both the men’s and women’s bathrooms, with the option to close off three stalls with a sliding door during the slow seasons in town. As an environmentally friendly design, the closure of some stalls will save resources – builders are calling it a “sustainable design.””Nothing on this building is standard, that’s why it’s taken awhile to build,” Chism said. The Food & Wine Classic will begin setting up in the field immediately after the rugby game on Saturday.