Design team picked for Vail conference center |

Design team picked for Vail conference center

Scott N. Miller
Special to the DailyArchitects The National Musuem of Wildlife Art in Jackson, Wyoming, by Fentress Bradburn Architects, the company chosen to design Vail's conference center.

After two days of interviews, choosing a firm to design Vail’s new conference center became easy.On the heels of a unanimous recommendation from the Vail Conference Center Committee, an advisory panel made up of town residents and business owners, the Vail Town Council unanimously picked Fentress Bradburn Architects of Denver to design the new facility.”All the presentations were very good, and the questions were probing and thoughtful,” Vail Mayor and conference center committee member Rod Slifer said. And, he added, “In the town of Vail, we rarely have a unanimous opinion.”

Curt Fentress said he and his company got a taste of what working with the town and its residents will be like during the public interview. Fentress said he and his representatives will usually spend less than an hour going over the company’s qualifications and ideas for a specific project.”You spent almost three hours with us – we know it’s going to be a very thorough process,” Fentress said.Working in Vail, less than two hours away from the Fentress Bradburn offices in downtown Denver, will be almost like working locally, Fentress said. And there will be local partners in the project, too. Avon-based Jamar and Associates will be involved with planning the center, which will be built between the Lionshead parking garage and Dobson Ice Arena. Local architect Sherry Dorward is also on the team.One of the reasons Fentress Bradburn was picked is the firm’s experience with two-story convention centers, such as one in Ogden, Utah. On a much larger scale, Denver’s new convention center is a also a two-story structure.During his presentation, Fentress showed the council a few very general outlines for a center that included more parking spaces at the Lionshead garage. But he also showed how parking spaces could be built underneath the conference center. He also urged the council to keep an open mind about linking the convention center with Dobson to provide more flexibility in booking events.

“You have a great opportunity,” Fentress said. “The building will be visible from I-70 and there are views from the building to the mountain, and from the mountain to the convention center, so we’d better make it good.” More elaborate planning will start as soon as the town completes a contract with the firm. More public meetings will be held through the rest of the summer into the fall, with the idea of issuing bonds for the $42 million facility by the end of the year

Fentress Bradburn projects include: Denver International Airport passenger terminal Denver Convention Center Jefferson County Administration Building, Golden National Museum of Wildlife Art, Jackson, Wyo. U.S. Marine Museum, Quantico, Va.

Scott Miller covers education and the town of Vail, Coloado, for the Vail Daily. He can be reached at

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