Consultant details costs of performing arts center in Glenwood |

Consultant details costs of performing arts center in Glenwood

John Stroud
Post Independent
Aspen, CO Colorado

GLENWOOD SPRINGS – To build a performing arts center as an add-on to the existing Glenwood Springs Community Center would likely cost in the range of $15 million to $21 million, according to an architectural consultant working with the city’s performing arts and events center task force.

Once built, the multiple-use theater space could be expected to require about a $265,000 subsidy from the city to operate in its first year, assuming the theater is up and running by 2013.

That amount would increase to about $284,000 after four years, architect Harry Teague said during a Monday presentation at the community center.

Based on the various types of programming that can be expected to occur there, the income-to-expense ratio is also projected to increase from 54 percent to 58 percent by 2017.

“So, while costs go up, the income is also greater over time,” Teague said after Monday’s meeting.

He added that the numbers are only projections arrived at by co-consultants Duncan Webb Management. The firm was hired last fall to work with the architects and task force to prepare a feasibility study for the city to build a performing arts and events center at the community center site.

“The numbers aren’t guaranteed, but are based on some substantial data comparing similar facilities,” Teague said.

The new conceptual plan, unveiled publicly for the first time on Monday, envisions a 350-seat performing arts theater built onto the east side of the existing Community Center building, between the ice rink and Midland Avenue.

The space would include retractable theater-style seating and could be converted for banquet seating on a flat floor and for other types of events as well.

A second public presentation is scheduled for 7-9 p.m. Thursday at the community center. After that, the task force will refine its findings and is to present a report to Glenwood Springs City Council on Sept. 1.

The new conceptual plans also suggest that the existing open-air ice rink could be enclosed and upgraded, at an additional cost of up to $6.4 million. It could then serve as an ice rink for about half the year and an events center during the warmer months, available for conventions and other larger gatherings.

Also, as envisioned, the existing music garden would be preserved and serve as a common entry area between the conjoined buildings.

As with the theater, the ice rink/events center would require an additional annual subsidy from the city to operate and maintain.

Currently, the ice rink costs the city around $55,000 per year. An enclosed, upgraded facility would roughly double that cost, Teague said in his presentation.

With the expanded use, however, the income-to-cost ratio could increase to 75 percent by 2017, he said.

An earlier concept had put the performing arts center addition on the southwest side of the community center building.

However, the fly loft area above the stage in the theater building could be as high as 60 feet.

“That’s a rather large element to put on the front of that building,” Teague said.

The Monday presentation was attended by about 30 people, including citizens serving on the task force, representatives from the theater and performing arts community, and several youth hockey parents interested to hear of the newest design concept.

Some in attendance balked at the costs associated with building and operating the facilities. Others said the city should focus its efforts to build a performing arts center downtown, rather than at the community center site.

Whether the City Council is inclined to take the study to the next step in terms of raising money, or possibly going to voters to finance the new facilities, or looking at a different site altogether, will be a discussion for another day.