Glenwood group eyes school site for performing arts center |

Glenwood group eyes school site for performing arts center

Pete Fowler
Glenwood Springs correspondent
Aspen, CO Colorado
Pete Fowler/Post IndependentA theater committee recently presented to City Council the possibility of converting Glenwood Springs Elementary School into a performing arts center.

GLENWOOD SPRINGS ” A theater committee is looking at converting Glenwood Springs Elementary School into a performing arts center.

During a presentation to the City Council last week emphasizing the location, the committee also mentioned the possibility of a new tax to fund it.

There’s no exact cost projection to convert the school, said Judy O’Donnell, Glenwood Springs Theater Ad Hoc Committee chairwoman, but, “We know it would be less than building new at this time. It would probably even be as much as a third to a half less than building new.”

Roaring Fork School District Re-1 Superintendent Judy Haptonstall said she’s only had a brief, informal talk with city councilors as of Monday. She said the school could potentially be used for a performing arts center if the school district was able to find another good location.

“We really value having an elementary school in the community and wouldn’t want to lose that,” she said. “If the city had any other property in the city limits, in a neighborhood, maybe [Glenwood Springs Elementary School] could be used for something else.”

The committee sees the school as a good location near downtown and the confluence area just south and east of the intersection of the Roaring Fork and Colorado rivers. The city hopes to redevelop the area once a new wastewater treatment plant is built in West Glenwood Springs.

About two years ago, the committee proposed a plan to build a new performing arts center for around $40 million. The elementary school reportedly could be converted to a performing arts center for around $8 to $16 million, not including the cost of acquiring the land.

O’Donnell said Monday the committee looked at many other locations since then including U.S. Bank on Eighth Street and Grand Avenue, Harley Davidson, the library, and the planned Roaring Fork Lodge. The elementary school seemed better because it would allow for more options, O’Donnell said.

“It’s a good municipal investment because you’re keeping something historic and you’re providing for the future with multiple uses,” she said.

The school could house a theater in an expanded gymnasium. It already has a kitchen. The cafeteria could be turned into an events center. The classrooms could be used for dance classes, music classes and rehearsal rooms, she said.

The theater committee was formed almost three years ago and gets some funding through the city.

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