Friday, July 11, 2008

A sneak peek

Early look at Pavilion reveals intricate work of many pieces

Express Staff Writer

The new Sun Valley Pavilion has numerous facets, hundreds of laborers at work and lends a new drama to the Sun Valley Resort area. Photo by Willy Cook

Sun Valley Co. owner Earl Holding has seemingly spared no expense in the latest addition to his resort.

While the Sun Valley Pavilion, scheduled to open on August 3, remains a beehive of labor, it is apparent that the multi-piece structure could be one of the area's most striking amenities.

The large amphitheater, located on Dollar Road adjacent to the ice hockey rink, will have seating for up to 4,500 spectators, with 1,500 of those in permanent padded seats and the rest on the landscaped lawn that faces Bald Mountain.

Standing at the Pavilion's main entrance, which will feature a cascading waterfall, Sun Valley Entertainment Director John Mauldin gave some background on the stunning stone facade.

About 1,000 tons of travertine rock was shipped from Italy's Mariotti quarry outside of Rome, and affixed to the structure's exposed walls in tiles weighing nearly 100 pounds apiece.

This stone brings with it an impressive lineage; Mauldin said it is the same material used in the Roman Coliseum.

But a visitor's attention is easily diverted upwards, to the 70-foot arch and copper-covered roof.

Under this roof is the 3,000 square-foot stage, covered with dark massaranduba Brazilian ironwood, chosen because of its resistance to water.

Yet to be installed is a PVC canopy that will cover the inside seating area and two terraces that flank either side of the stage.

Cables for the canopy were installed on Wednesday with the help of Sun Valley Ski Patrol members, who are experts at rigging.

Other Sun Valley employees were responsible for laying the many pavers that surround the Pavilion.

But the majority of the work is being done by 20 subcontracting companies. The large number is necessary, Mauldin said, because of all the different specialties required for such a complex project.

Designed by New York-based FTL Design Engineering Studio, the Pavilion is closing in on completion thanks to approximately 150 workers that come to the site every day and construction that has gone around the clock, seven days a week for the last two months.

Under lead contractor Intermountain Construction, based out of Idaho Falls, the majority of the work will be in place when violinist Gil Shaham christens the stage during the Sun Valley Summer Symphony next month. According to Mauldin, some stone work, lighting, sound and backstage finishing will remain incomplete for that inaugural event.

And while the 4,000 square-foot rear terrace might not be ready for the many anticipated receptions at that time, the mahogany paneling of the acoustic canopy will be in place to deliver a sound never before experienced in the Wood River Valley.

"This is a world-class performing arts center and will likely bring about opportunities we haven't even thought about yet," Mauldin said. "I'm not sure if it's the Eighth Wonder of the World, but it's definitely unique."

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