Glenwood proceeds with performing arts center study | AspenTimes.com

Glenwood proceeds with performing arts center study

John Stroud
Glenwood Springs correspondent
Aspen, CO Colorado

GLENWOOD SPRINGS – City Council has approved a request for an additional $35,000 to do a feasibility study for a performing arts/events center at the Glenwood Springs Community Center site.

However, council members want the scope of the study to be more flexible in terms of the size, and possibly even the location of the facility.

As it stands, the city plans to hire a firm to “assess the feasibility of building and operating a performing arts theater/events center on the community center site based on existing conceptual plans,” according to a request for proposals put together by the city’s performing arts center task force earlier this year.

Architects working on the conceptual plans have estimated a 600-800 seat facility would cost between $9 million and $12 million to build.

Nine proposals to do the feasibility study were submitted, and three firms were interviewed for the job in September. However, another $35,000 appropriation was needed to pay for the $75,000 study.

The council agreed to the extra money at its Nov. 4 meeting. The money was already being held in reserve, City Manager Jeff Hecksel said.

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But some council members questioned a stipulation that the performing arts center be planned to accommodate audiences of more than 600 people.

“I would like to make sure we’re looking at smaller options as well,” Councilman Russ Arensman said. “I’d rather not be locked into that size.”

The feasibility study will also evaluate existing facilities, such as the new Jeannie Miller Auditorium at Glenwood Springs High School, to determine where demand for performance venues can already be met.

Consultants will also develop a pro-forma for the proposed performing arts/events center as part of the study to determine if it will be economically feasible.

Councilman Stephen Bershenyi, who worked with the task force, said the idea is to assess what it will take to build a “bare bones” shell structure that could eventually accommodate up to 800 seats.

“We need to be able to meet that demand if we find out it’s there, and do a reasonable expansion over time,” he said.

Council member Shelley Kaup indicated she would like the information in the study to be transferable to another site, if the community center location turns out to not be a possibility.

A previous study commissioned by the city came back with a proposal for a $40 million facility.

“We need to rein this one in more,” Mayor Bruce Christensen said.

A report on the feasibility study is expected soon after the first of the year.

jstroud@postindependent.com