With a final site plan approved by Silverthorne Town Council last Wednesday, March 23, the town’s highly anticipated performing arts center will move forward to construction by May. The 16,000 square-foot building will feature a 130-seat black box for the Lake Dillon Theatre Company, as well as a secondary performance space, two classrooms and a lobby for public use.
“We have a great community. What we’ve lacked in this town is identity. This fits absolutely perfectly in the plans we’ve done for years,” Silverthorne Mayor Bruce Butler said. “I look at it as, this is an investment to bring to fruition all of the work we’ve done over the years.”
The plans passed four-to-one, with Councilman Stuart Richardson casting the lone dissenting vote. His concerns stemmed from the cost of the building, which has increased to $9 million from original estimates of $6 million.
“I look at this as a partnership between a government and an entity. And the problem is the entity is taking it over,” Richardson said. “We’re spending $9 million on 130 seats. I just don’t see where the community is getting a net benefit from that type of design.”
Supporters noted the space will hold plenty of venues for additional programming.
“I don’t view it as just 130 seats,” Councilwoman JoAnne Nadalin said. “I look it as a practice space Ballet Folklorico can use, for example. The community is being invited in.”
Lake Dillon Theatre Company director Chris Alleman noted they intended to partner with other nonprofits as much as possible, and had already engaged in conversations with local performance groups.
“We see ourselves as the facilitators and programmers of this building, not just for ourselves, but also with other organizations,” Alleman said. “We want this to be a community facility. Even in our interim space.”
Silverthorne town manager Ryan Hyland added the building had received acoustical treatments and been designed in such a way that multiple shows could run simultaneously.
“If you want to have a small chamber concert in a second performance space while you have a show going on, you can do that,” he said. “We do want to be sure the community grows to see the building as the community’s building, with Lake Dillon Theatre Company as a fantastic tenant.”
THE EVOLUTION OF A PROJECT
Initial plans for the performing arts center were drafted in 2014, with the partnership between the town and Lake Dillon Theatre Company (LDTC) officially announced in March 2014. Initial estimates set the project cost at $6 million, with LDTC contributing $2 million. Now, the project has reached the budget cap of $9 million, with LDTC contributing $2.7 million, though a final budget still awaits town council approval.
Assistant town manager Mark Leidal said Boulder-based Oz Architecture would build a permit package, before construction starts.
“It’s gonna be a quick construction,” Leidal said. “We’re hoping to be done by March of 2017.”
With a groundbreaking ceremony set for April 23, Leidal estimates contractors will start in May.
“It should be a great building for the community,” he said. “I think the town and town council really wanted this to be an iconic structure.”
Rebecca Greek of Oz Architecture noted current building plans include office space, green rooms, dressing rooms and a costume shop in addition to the performance and classroom areas. Plans for an outdoor projection wall are in the design, but listed as an add-alternate, meaning it could be removed if adequate funding is not available.
“We’re trying to get the cost under $9 million so we can afford more amenities,” Greek said. “Especially in Colorado, the cost of construction is skyrocketing with all of the building that’s happening. There’s a lot of development on the Front Range, which means there’s less and less labor to do the work, and the cost of labor goes up.”
Despite the considerable budget restraints, Greek noted the project remained close to the original plan.
“A lot of projects, when they hit that budget challenge, space has to get cut and programs have to get cut,” Greek said. “It was sort of a sting at first… What was great is there was a commitment by the town to go back and find additional funding to make this happen. We’ve been able to maintain the initial intentions for the project.”
Alleman thanked the town for the opportunity to collaborate on the project and noted Lake Dillon Theatre Company’s excitement to move into the larger, newer space in the future.
“Finally, we’re all going to be under one roof for the first time in 23 years,” he said.