In the coming days, our donors and supporters will likely see some press coverage about the closure of the old Center building. We wanted to give you the full scoop before those new stories hit your inboxes!
On Thursday, December 3, I attended a Zoom meeting with Town of Crested Butte staff (and Crockett Farnell, our General Contractor) to discuss various outstanding construction issues from the Center’s recently completed capital campaign. This “punch list” was created a year ago, after the Center opened, and included a range of items, a number of which were easy to address (moving some wood, removal of temporary storage, replacing areas of gravel, making exit pathways level, adding ADA accessible ramps at the front entrance of the old building, moving our garbage cans from the parking lot, etc.) Most of these have already been taken care of, but a few of the issues are more complex.
Specifically, the Town of Crested Butte informed us that we needed to address the following life-safety/zoning issues if we are to keep the old Center building open to the public:
- Make an accessible pathway that would allow a safe egress from the building in the back courtyard. This would involve pouring a new concrete sidewalk and installing some new snow fences on the roof. (Work on this will begin shortly, depending on the weather.)
- Removal/demolition of the temporary “lean-to” structure in the courtyard (which was built during Phase One construction to protect people exiting from the old theatre) which does not meet BOZAR zoning requirements.
- Removal/demolition of the temporary entrance covering on the south side of the old Center, facing the Alpenglow field (this was put up during Phase One construction for construction crew members entering and exiting the old building) which does not meet BOZAR zoning requirements.
Due to the costs associated with these repairs, and given that the Center is being very, very careful with our financial resources, we were unable to commit to making those repairs within the Town’s desired timeline. As a result, the Town informed us that we would need to close the old Center building to the public until such time as we are able to afford the repairs necessary to meet the life safety requirements. We reached out to our renters on the morning of December 4 to let them know.
Luckily, with the hard work of our staff, we were able to move all of the users out of the old Center building and into the new building. This meant a lot of discussions, scheduling, and negotiations with our renters, all of whom bent over backwards to help us figure out a solution. We are proud to say that our friends from the Crested Butte School of Dance, the Crested Butte Community Yoga Coop, the Trailhead Children’s Museum, and a small group of visual artists all responded with patience and with grace. Together, we were able to accommodate all of their events in the new building without too much pain.
So, as of now, the old Center building is closed to the public. We are continuing to work with the Town of Crested Butte to determine next steps, and with our renter-partners to ensure we meet their needs. But for the foreseeable future, the old Center will remain closed.
Our next steps are to discuss the two “temporary” structures with BOZAR to ask for an extension of the temporary permit. This may involve upgrades to those two structures to meet BOZAR standards and, to be frank, we just don’t know if we can afford that. So, we will need to wait and see how BOZAR responds, and how much all of this will cost, before we can make any decision about trying to re-open the old Center building.
Obviously, the COVID-19 pandemic has had a huge impact on the Center’s finances. We are 100% committed to making decisions that protect the Center’s long-term financial health. In the end, it may be more financially responsible of us to keep the old Center closed, but at this point we just don’t know. As we learn more, we will keep you informed but for now thank you for your support of the Center. We also appreciate the efforts and partnership of the Town of Crested Butte as we determine our next steps forward.
If you have any questions, please don’t hesitate to reach out. I am happy to provide you with more information.
Scott Palmer I Executive Director
Center for the Arts
PO Box 1819
Crested Butte Colorado 81224