Friday, March 14, 2008

Community Center Opening Soon

Community Center to open soon
By Brandon Gee - Steambaot Pilot & Today
Monday, March 10, 2008

Steamboat Springs — If anyone is excited about the completion of the new Steamboat Springs Community Center, it’s Shelley Orrell.

“I’m excited about having an office because right now I’m in a storage closet at the end of the kitchen,” said Orrell, program director for the Routt County Council on Aging. “We’re excited. It’s a lovely building and a great asset for the whole community.”

The Routt County Council on Aging will be the primary user of the $3.6 million facility, which is replacing the former community center that was demolished to make way for an expansion of Bud Werner Memorial Library.

Bob Robichaud, facilities manager for the city of Steamboat Springs, said the Council on Aging is scheduled to begin moving into its new home this week. But that plan is dependent on the weather, Robichaud said, because the people who do the moving also do snow removal, a more pressing need.

It wouldn’t be the first time that work related to the Community Center has been held up because of snow. In December, project manager Rick Gliniecki of Fox Construction predicted the building would be delivered in February. Since that time, an abundant amount of snowfall has Steamboat closing in on a record winter.

“It certainly has added challenges,” Robichaud said Friday. “You have to tent areas of the building and provide heat so you can work. You have to get the snow out of the way before you can find a place to stand.”

In any event, Robichaud said he anticipates “being operational by the end of the week of (March) 17.”

For the past eight months, the Routt County Council on Aging has occupied space at Celebrity Resorts on Highpoint Drive. The temporary home allowed the council to continue programs such as the meals it offers senior citizens four times a week.

“It worked awful well for us because it’s a commercial kitchen and it allowed us to keep going,” Orrell said. “Access hasn’t been the best, but the city has made it work for us.”

Other activities, such as movie night and exercise classes, had to be scrapped. In addition to renewing activities that had to be cut, Orrell said the council hopes to expand its programming in the new Community Center with events such as a lecture series.

Leo Hill Post No. 44 of the American Legion will be another major user of the Community Center. Last week, the Steamboat Springs City Council approved a 30-year lease for the post’s space in the Community Center. Like the Routt County Council on Aging, the American Legion post was a tenant in the old community center. The post contributed $50,000 to the construction of the old community center in 1980. They will contribute $15,000 for a wooden dance floor in the new Community Center.

The center will be open to the broader community as well and may host weddings and other functions. Rental fees have not yet been established, but Deputy City Manager Wendy DuBord said Friday that fees would be slightly higher than those at the old community center. The building’s main community room can hold 382 people.

The Steamboat Springs Com­munity Center aims to be the first building in Northwest Colorado to earn Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design certification. LEED is a rating system developed by the U.S. Green Building Council as a voluntary program to define and measure “green,” or environmentally friendly, buildings. LEED buildings are awarded ratings from “certification,” to silver, gold and platinum levels.

“We’re comfortable that the building will be certified,” Robichaud said. He said it would be another 30 days before the city will know what level of certification the building achieves.

Some of the Community Center’s green features include a heavy reliance on recycled materials, lighting provided by solar tubes and the use of wood purchased from suppliers approved by the Forest Stewardship Council.

The Community Center still is subject to inspections and permitting. The city is seeking proposals for landscaping work to be done after the snow melts. A grand opening celebration is tentatively scheduled for May.