Center designs ready

Community facility will go before city planners next week

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— Construction of a new Steamboat Springs community center likely will begin this winter.

Deputy City Manager Wendy DuBord said this week that the "design development process" for the center is completed, and designs will be submitted to the Steamboat Springs Planning Commission next week.

Those designs will go to the top of the Planning Commission's agendas, DuBord said.

"We're accelerating this," she said. "We're hoping to bid for the project in mid-November."

At a Sept. 19 meeting, the Steamboat Springs City Council approved $90,000 in "winterization" expenses that will allow construction to begin on the center this winter. The new facility will be built on city-owned land adjacent to the Stock Bridge Transit Center west of downtown Steamboat. The site overlooks the Yampa River.

Winterization costs include the purchase and use of a special cold-weather mix of concrete, heating for the concrete and sheltering construction materials from the elements, DuBord said.

The council approval was part of a larger $477,000 approved cost increase that will fund heating systems for the facility's sidewalks and patio, a geothermal heating and cooling system and other materials used to meet environmental efficiency standards.

"The council (initially) approved a $2.5 million building," DuBord said. "We can build a $2.5 million building, but it would not meet the environmental standards the city has said it wants to achieve."

The additional cost will come from the city's general fund, DuBord said.

The geothermal system will not use underground water, which is a possibility being explored for renovations to the base of the Steamboat Ski Area, but instead will use pressurized air pumped from beneath the building site.

DuBord said staff from Rocky Mountain Geo-Thermal estimate that the system will repay its cost by reducing heating and cooling expenses in 10 to 12 years.

City officials are accelerating the planning and construction of the new community center in order to facilitate the $11.4 million expansion of Bud Werner Memorial Library, approved by Steamboat voters in November 2005. The existing Steamboat Springs Community Center will be torn down to make way for the expansion, but not before the new center is built.

"We have to be done for the library to go forward," DuBord said.

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