Sunday, January 11, 2015

Breckenridge unveils its centerpiece: A reborn Harris St. schoolhouse building

#Breckenridge, Colorado.

Ben Trollinger /

When the town of Breckenridge purchased the old schoolhouse building on Harris Street in 2010, officials weren’t really sure what they would do with the space, only that it was a cherished landmark that needed to be preserved. Summit County came onboard with the inclusion of a new location for the South Branch library, and the project grew to become a community center, a hub for people to come together from not only the town of Breckenridge, but all over the county.
On Saturday, Jan. 10, that vision will come to life with the grand opening of the Breckenridge Grand Vacations Community Center & South Branch Library. The event will celebrate the culmination of nearly two years of demolition, construction, restoration and fundraising with an outdoor ceremony followed by an open house, where members of the community can explore the new space and everything it has to offer.
Larissa O’Neil, executive director of the Breckenridge Heritage Alliance, said the new community center is a much-needed asset for the town of Breckenridge and Summit County as a whole.
“It’s a space that people can just come to and spend the afternoon, whether it’s at the coffee shop or reading a book curled up in the little reading nook or visiting with some of the nonprofit offices,” she said. “It’s such a great collaboration between so many different partners in the community, and the fact that it’s a historical building and such an icon in our community makes this an even more significant project.”
During the open house, children can decorate library cards or book bags and capture their own moment in the building’s history with a photo booth in the teen room of the library. Adults are invited to take a stroll down Memory Lane, where they can share their memories of the building and its heritage over the different eras of its 100-plus-year history. Local author Sandra Mather will be signing books in the new Breckenridge Heritage Alliance archive room and handing out copies of her children’s book, “Historic Footprints: A Picture Book for Young Readers,” to the first 100 families that come through.
“The Speakeasy will be open, showing trailers and the capabilities of the new digital projection system that space offers for the guests,” O’Neil said. “The entire building will be open and available. The Summit Foundation will have their offices open, visiting with folks, as well as the (Breckenridge) Film Festival.”
Members of the Summit Quilters group will be situated on the mezzanine level of the library to share stories about the creation of their one-of-a-kind quilt, which hangs over the fireplace, and additional activities will take place in the junior and children’s rooms of the library.
From the architectural team and the many contractors who worked on the building, to the nonprofits that will inhabit the new office spaces, to library staff, donors and others who were involved with the project, all are abuzz with excitement to see the final result.
“I’m very excited for the opening; it’s a fabulous building and we are proud as a firm to have had the opportunity to work on such a gem,” said Ben Heppe, of Anderson Hallas Architects, PC, associate in charge of the project.
Courtesy of the Summit Daily News.