Friday, April 25, 2014

Sun Valley approves Lodge spa addition

Design deemed in character with historic structure

Express Staff Writer

A backhoe does demolition work Wednesday at the Sun Valley Lodge, in front of the former Lodge Dining Room, in preparation for the spa addition. Photo by Roland Lane

     With little discussion and no public comment offered, the Sun Valley Planning and Zoning Commission on Thursday unanimously approved a 31,000-square-foot addition to the Sun Valley Lodge.

     The first two floors of the new section will contain a spa and the third floor will have four large guest suites.

     The project includes demolition of the Lodge Dining Room and replacement of the outdoor swimming pool. By Tuesday morning, demolition equipment had reached the edge of the dining room, a rounded extension on the west side of the building.

     In an interview, Sun Valley General Manager Tim Silva said the company had decided that a spa is “an amenity that guests expect in a hotel like ours.” The spa will be open to the public.

     Silva declined to state a cost for the project.

     As a standard of approval, the P&Z agreed that the proposed stone-veneer facade would preserve the “essential character” of the historic building, constructed in 1936 as America’s first destination ski lodge. The design includes exterior indentations that mimic those in the main structure.

     Architect Nick Latham told the commissioners that the company had considered extending the main building’s concrete exterior, formed and painted to mimic wood planks, onto the addition. However, he said, designers concluded that the original look wouldn’t fit with the new section’s function as a spa.

     “We want to have a little bit of differentiation between the old building and the new building,” he said. “We want the new building to look more modern.”

     The addition will have larger, more modern-looking windows than those of the original building.

     The project also includes a remodel of all guest rooms in the Lodge and the lobby. The Lodge’s current 146 guest rooms—increased from the original 120—will be reduced to a more luxurious 96 rooms, with gas fireplaces. Six chimneys will be built on each of the building’s four wings to vent the fireplaces. The building’s wood shingles will be replaced with more fire-resistant asphalt shingles.

     Plans presented to the commission included a porte cochere entry to the spa with a roundabout driveway containing a landscaped island. That driveway will be connected to the roundabout in front of the main Lodge entry.

     Architect Michael Bulls, also with the firm Ruscitto/Latham/Blanton, said the spa will have an 18-foot-tall lobby and 15 treatment rooms, including four for couples, steam rooms, saunas and locker rooms on the second floor.

     He said other aspects of the project include construction of two meeting rooms, extension of the arcade area at the basement bowling alley and the addition of balconies on rooms that face Bald Mountain. He said the pool will be rebuilt in the same style and location as the original pool, though at half the current 10-foot depth. The Lodge and Inn pools were originally built with diving boards, which have since been removed.

     “We needed to redo the pool,” he said. “It wasn’t working very well—it had some leaks.”

     Bulls said the pool area will have a bar and cold food service.

     Work on the addition is scheduled to begin this spring, and on the Lodge remodel in the fall. With the exception of the pool area, the Lodge will be operating as usual this summer, but will be closed from Sept. 3 to June 1, 2015. Silva pointed out that during that time, the rest of Sun Valley Resort will be functioning normally.

     The spa is scheduled to open on June 10, 2015.

This conceptual drawing shows what the addition will look like from the southwest.
Graphic by Ruscitto/Latham/Blanton

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