New Strings site under construction

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— Construction is under way on a new home for Strings in the Mountains music festival at the southwest corner of Pine Grove and Mount Werner roads.

Strings President Kay Clagett said this week that although construction began about two weeks later than hoped, plans to begin the music festival at the new site in June 2004 are still on target. Clagett said concrete for the new site's elevated seating areas is scheduled to be poured in September.

The performance tent in Torian Plum Plaza will be taken down on Sept. 15; its aluminum ribs will be erected on the new site this fall. The tent itself won't be put up again until spring. In the future, the entire tent will stay up year-round.

Administrative offices will be moved out of Torian Plum Plaza in mid October.

This summer's construction will see the completion of new roads, sidewalks, lighting and landscaping, Strings Board President Rocco Laterzo said.

"We're receiving bids for landscaping right now," Clagett said.

Strings purchased 6 acres of the new site from Trendwest Resorts Inc., for $1.6 million earlier this year, and the condominium developer donated an additional 1.2 acres of adjacent open space.

Trendwest has future plans to build more condominiums close to the Strings site, but the music festival is not involved in that venture. Clagett stressed that the capital budget being used to fund the $2 million relocation project is separate from Strings' annual operating budget, which depends on the generosity of many patrons and volunteers.

The money necessary to acquire and develop the new home for Strings in the Mountains was raised among 35 individuals (including former board members) and a single private foundation, Clagett said.

Strings concerts have been performed since 1992 in a 500-seat tent in Torian Plum Plaza. The tent was given to Strings by the city of Steamboat Springs, and the festival site was provided by the Torian Homeowners Association. That arrangement afforded Strings exposure to visitors at the base of the ski area, which helped it grow to 25,000 patrons each summer, Clagett said.

However, increasing numbers of people in the commercial areas at the resort's base were making it challenging for the festival to provide the atmosphere it needed for its eclectic mix of chamber and world music.

The new site ensures options for future growth of the music festival are protected. The site was chosen with the possibility of a permanent concert hall in mind, although no decision has been made on those plans.

Clagett said the tent will be deliberately sited so that it can coexist with construction of a new concert hall on the ideal portion of the 7 acres. An architectural firm specializing in concert halls was hired to study the site and develop a conceptual plan for that eventuality.


-- To reach Tom Ross call 871-4205 or

e-mail tross@steamboatpilot.com

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