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Town Council encouraging a new, energy efficient ice rink

Working group hires architect

Green ice isn’t exactly what Crested Butte Town Council members are hoping for when the new proposed ice rink is built, but they do want the sports complex building to be as energy efficient as possible—perhaps even the first LEED-certified community rink in the nation.



 Town Council members told Crested Butte Building and Zoning director Bob Gillie during a regular meeting on Monday, February 4. That energy efficiency was a priority for the Town and requested he relay that to project developers of the proposed ice rink.
While reporting that the ice rink working group had tentatively reached an agreement on the price and scope of services for the design work with an architecture firm, Gillie was asked about the building’s energy efficiency.
Council members questioned how pro-green the architecture firm was and whether or not the proponent’s promises of an energy-efficient design was still on the table.
Gillie said everyone was committed to making an energy-efficient rink but LEED standards would not necessarily apply during the first phase since it would be less than 20,000 square feet. Gillie noted there are no LEED-certified community ice rinks in the country. LEED—leadership in energy and environmental design—is a green building rating system developed by the U.S. Green Building Council that provides a suite of standards for environmentally sustainable construction.
Crested Butte mayor Alan Bernholtz said he would prefer energy efficiency be included in all phases and recommended the working group work with the Office for Resource Efficiency to make it happen.
Council member Reed Betz agreed and said he wanted to see the infrastructure be LEED certified if possible. “We need to set up ourselves up for success,” he added.
Gillie said it would not only be challenging to have a LEED-certified ice rink but also very expensive. “There’s a reason no one has done it—we would have to use geothermal. It’s something we want to investigate, but there’s no doubt it will take more money to do that,” Gillie said.
Town manager Susan Parker reiterated that the Town Council staff had strongly made the point to the East River Valley Skating Association and architecture firm that energy-efficiency was important, and every step was being taken to make sure it was incorporated into the plans.
Gillie said the working group decided to move forward with developing comprehensive plans for phase one of the facility to put out to bid. Rather than going through the request for proposal (RFP) process once again, the group agreed to negotiate a contract with the Ankeny Kell Architecture (AKA) firm, which had worked with East River Skating Association in 2006. AKA completed the initial conceptual architectural plans.
Phase one will include the main structure (exterior walls), the ice maintenance storage room (Zamboni room), the rink and under rink tubing (refrigeration and heating), a concrete slab throughout, roof insulation, primary bathrooms, conditional lobby, and fire suppression system.
Gillie said the proposed contract with AKA is for 6.5 percent of the project costs or up to $200,000. Gillie said the working group believes the construction costs could be less than $3 million.
“We’ve negotiated with them lower fees to the point that we think it reasonable—it’s pinned to the cost of the rink,” Gillie said.
Gillie also reported the Town had finished collecting the information required for the wetlands permit and submitted the application to the Army Corp of Engineers on January 25. He said the process would take at least six months prior to final approval.
In addition to the wetlands permit, Gillie said the working group had received a draft traffic study from Boulder-based Fox and Higgins Transportation Group that found while the rink will add traffic to the area it will not typically coincide with the peak usage times generated by the school.
The report reviewed historic data relative to traffic counts, ice rink programmed usage and the rink plans. The study also looked at parking and found there are adequate spaces except when high spectator access is anticipated on weekends, at which time the school’s parking lot would be used.
“We received the draft of the traffic study, and there were not a lot of surprises in it. Yes, there will be more traffic, but the timing won’t conflict with current use,” Gillie explained.
Council members questioned several aspects of the study including if it took into account the potential build-out of the Crested Butte Community School, increased traffic in the neighboring residential area and on Seventh Street, sharing the school’s parking lot with the Center for the Arts, and possible alternative routes into the facility.
Gillie said the study only anticipated possible traffic conflicts during the weekend tournaments, and possibly during construction. “If you are asking if there are going to be issues, there already are issues,” Gillie said. “(The ice rink) will mean traffic at different times than (the neighborhood) experiences now.”
Council member Skip Berkshire asked if the traffic study included a mitigation plan for the increased traffic. “I want this to move forward – I think it’s a good spot for it, but I also want to be sensitive to the neighborhood,” Berkshire said. Town mayor Alan Bernholtz agreed and said, “I don’t want this to be a show-stopper, but we do need to address mitigation.”
Recent combined efforts between the Town and the East River Skating Association to build an indoor ice rink within the town began in late 2005 when the Town Council designated a site for the facility, just south of the Crested Butte Community School near Highway 135. The East River Skating Association began in 2003, replacing the former Crested Butte ice organization.

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