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Mt. Crested Butte Council weighs in on new Adaptive building

Parking and drop-off zone could require some creative thinking

By Alissa Johnson

Representatives from the Adaptive Sports Center met with the Mt. Crested Butte Town Council last month to update councilmembers on plans for a new base area building.

Generally supportive of the project, the council had several questions about elements such as parking and grading that will ultimately be determined during the design process.

In August 2016, the Adaptive Sports Center purchased the Outpost building in the Crested Butte Mountain Resort (CBMR) base area, currently home to the Children’s Trailhead Museum. The plan is to build a new facility on the same location that will allow Adaptive to serve two groups at a time.

“For a long time, we’ve been dreaming of finding a home for the Adaptive Sports Center,” said ASC executive director Chris Hensley. About two years ago, he explained, CBMR’s then-president Ethan Mueller and current president Michael Kraatz suggested ASC buy the Outpost building.

The plan is to construct a three-story building with a full basement for rental locker space, program space on the first floor, administrative offices and a kitchen on the second floor, and housing for groups on the top floor. It will be approximately 15,000 square feet above ground, and Hensley said the intention is for it to have it be a well-designed building and a “feather in the cap of the base area.”

The building aims to improve guest experience by providing ski-in/ski-out access and allowing Adaptive to double its winter capacity.

Now that the Outpost building has been acquired, two phases remain: design and engineering; and construction, which Hensley hopes to begin in 2018.

Meanwhile, Adaptive has also been focused on fundraising. Hensley said pledges were at $6.6 million, and the plan was to reach $7.5 million before pulling the trigger on design work. He felt confident the organization would reach that milestone, given the number of solicitations that have been made, and are settling on final dollar amounts.

“The board and staff are pretty adamant that we’re not going to start spending donors’ money until we’re sure we can raise the money to execute the entire thing,” Hensley said.

Development director Allison Butcher confirmed, “We’re beating the streets pretty hard right now to raise $900,000 by mid-May so we can feel confident moving forward and green-light the design phase.”

At the meeting, Town Council input primarily addressed details of the new building. Mayor Todd Barnes wanted to know if the replacement building would use the entire footprint of the current building. Hensley explained that it would most likely be bigger than the current building and, because of the way it will sit on the lot, it would probably go through a PUD (planned unit development) process with the town.

Councilmember David O’Reilly said, “I have a question about excavating the grade to get to the snow. How do you envision handling that as far as your people in wheelchairs in order to get to the sit ski?”

O’Reilly noted the process seemed like a struggle in Adaptive’s current location in the basement of the Treasury Center.

“We’d like to design in a way where you’re coming out and going down onto the slope,” Hensley confirmed. “That’s all part of the design process.”

“One of the last times you were in front of us, there were questions on the parking and the vehicles. Thoughts on that?” asked mayor Todd Barnes.

“That’s going to be a really big brainstorm with everybody,” Hensley responded. “We definitely are envisioning a big drop-off zone so people can get out and transfer into their wheelchairs and get inside of the building.

“We worked with you all to try to solidify some parking in the main ski area parking lot, so I think most of it [near the building] is going to be drop-off with some spots for our vehicles for dropping off large groups or picking up large groups. But I think that’s going to be one of the bigger design issues, trying to get the drop-off zone with everything else that’s happening there,” Hensley said.

“That leads into a bigger discussion,” councilmember Danny D’Aquila agreed. “We have a skier drop-off issue over there already that we need to solve.”

“That’s why it will take a big discussion,” Hensley agreed.

“There’s a fire lane, to boot,” councilmember Nicholas Kempin added.

Those details will be sorted out during the design phase. In the meantime, Butcher confirmed that Adaptive was not yet seeking a donation from the town but may in the future.

“We are still in the silent phase of the campaign, so we’re not actively soliciting gifts from the community at large but will be soon. As you know, it takes a lot of work to raise this kind of money, so we’re starting with the big fish and moving on from there,” Butcher said.

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