Wednesday, February 15, 2012

Hailey scales back Interpretive Center design

Second story eliminated to meet budget constraints

Express Staff Writer

The Hailey City Council voted unanimously last week to scale back design plans for the Rodeo Grounds Interpretive Center, in order to meet budget constraints.

"Unfortunately, these cost savings were necessary," said Mayor Fritz Haemmerle at a City Council meeting on Monday, Feb. 6.

The building will be behind the main entrance to the Rodeo Grounds, on the southwest corner of the rodeo arena. The building's purpose is to present a history of the rodeo grounds to visitors and residents.

New plans presented by architect Michael Bulls last Monday eliminate a second "mezzanine" story on the building. The Hailey Chamber of Commerce had planned to occupy the upper floor of the building, but will now share space on the first floor with exhibits and visiting areas.

"We've been given a budget number by the city of Hailey that we are now revising the design to meet," Bulls said in an interview.

He said the upper floor would have provided about 300 square feet of space.

"We had been pulling together cost estimates and it was looking like it was going to come in over budget," said City Administrator Heather Dawson.

Removing the second story and a staircase and consolidating plumbing on the ground floor will allow for "nearly the same" amount of total office space as the previous design, Dawson said.

The draft budget for the total cost of the Interpretive Center was set at $450,000 following a $3.5 million bond passed by Hailey voters two years ago to redevelop the entire Rodeo Grounds. Dawson said the new design would cut about $100,000 in costs for the project to ensure that it stays within that budget.

The city won a $4,000 grant from the Idaho Humanities Council last summer to fund the Interpretive Center exhibit, which is planned to include rodeo accessories, posters, film clips and photographs.

The exhibit will also include elements from the skatepark and planned ice rink nearby.

In other Hailey news:

( The city has tentative plans to host a two-day rodeo in early September during the Wagon Days festival, as well as up to seven other events this summer.

( The Hailey Oversight Committee, formed following passage in 2009 of three marijuana-related initiatives, has been abolished. Oversight Committee Chair Peter Lobb said convening the committee was "a waste of time" because the city could not override state law.

Tony Evans:

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