“But I like the idea of our recreational hub…”
The latest idea for expanding the Crested Butte Center for the Arts calls for keeping it all in the same area and adding on primarily to the north and east of the current building.
“The Center board has scaled back some of the plans,” explained Center for the Arts director Pat Crow. “The original two-site option which we discussed last year that would entail renovating and expanding the current Center and building a new facility on Gothic Field didn’t work. It was the Cadillac option, and we just can’t afford it.”
Crow said the board is now leaning toward a one-site option at the current facility near the entrance to town. Preliminary drawings have the Center expanding north to the baseball field. There would also be some new construction to the east taking over the current playground. The soccer field to the south, where Alpenglow concerts are held, would shrink a bit to accommodate more parking.
“This is more an analysis than a plan,” Crow told the council. “It all fits at the current Center site and we get everything we need to help the arts grow. It would be a phased project and we would plan to go to the Gunnison Met-Rec board to seek a vote that would help cover some operations costs. We are also working with the local Arts Alliance to get a feel for programming and rental potential.”
The Center hopes to start getting the word out about the plan now and get feedback from the general community. Crow admitted that some members of the arts community still prefer the two-site option and everyone seems to understand that any plan could take years to fruition.
“We are five years into this and our consultants say the average time for this type of project from idea to construction is 13 years. It is so dependent on money,” Crow said.
She also said the first phase of such a project would cost about $12 million and included most of the essentials for the project. The second phase would cost approximately $4 million and includes a new 400-seat theater.
The combined addition would add 30,000 square feet to the current 7,000 square foot building.
“We want to make it clear that we haven’t even started a campaign. We want to make sure the community would support something like this,” she said. “We feel like the town and the arts are partners and we want to keep you informed through regular conversations.”
The council gave the idea an initial lukewarm response. “When we start talking about this type of expansion, it reinforces to me that the town needs a master plan,” said councilmember Billy Rankin. “What happens to the basketball court and the pavilion? You know the council will hear about these issues.”
“If the playground has to go away as a result of this expansion, who pays to replace it somewhere else?” asked Mayor Alan Bernholtz.
“I would assume the arts would have to take care of that,” responded Crow. “These issues would have to be more defined as it moves forward.”