Donovan Park Pavilion on the fast track |

Donovan Park Pavilion on the fast track

Geraldine Haldner
Daily file photoInstead of contemporary architecture, a design committee for the Donovan Park Pavilion wants a more conventional look

It won1t just be simple, it could be fast, too.The Donovan Park Pavilion design committee, a group of four Vail Town Council members, vowed Monday to settle on a design for a simple community pavilion by mid-summer and have the project approved by August<a pace unheard of for the town of Vail.3No architects I talked to said it couldn1t be done, said Town Councilwoman Diana Donovan, who has been leading the effort to get a simpler and cheaper pavilion built at Donovan Park in West Vail ever since the council discarded a $3.2 million design by San Francisco Architect Scott Miller back in February.During a first committee meeting three weeks ago, the four council members decided they wanted to spend $2 million<and not a dime more<on a stripped-down but functional community center that could accommodate fancy weddings and simple Boy Scout get-togethers alike.3Two million dollars is to get a key to the building, Donovan said, when asked to specify by town staff what the budget limit meant.Instead of Scott1s futuristic design, committee members favor a rustic, cabin look. Instead of a lobby, they want at least two break-out rooms; and instead of a design costing $500 per square foot, they want to pay half that<a bargain price by Vail standards.3We are not building a real complicated building, said committee member Rod Slifer of the committee1s three-page wish list, which includes a simple catering kitchen, storage, partially-covered decks and space for up to 250 people indoors and another 100 outside.Capacity, committee members said, will drive the design and size of the pavilion<with cost a close and all-deciding second.3That1s the occupancy we want, but cost is going to drive this. If you end up with something smaller, that1s what it is going to be, Slifer said.At the urging of committee member Dick Cleveland, the committee will drop the idea of including a caretaker unit in the design<a political and cost-saving move.3Including a caretaker unit would be a mistake, Cleveland told his colleagues, adding that neighbors, who in the past have opposed employee housing on the 12-acre park site, may misinterpret such a unit as 3a first step on the slippery slope.In addition, Cleveland said, putting a care-taker unit above the ground-level pavilion would drive up cost because of the requirements to make it handicapped-accessible.Committee members agreed, crossing out the caretaker unit, at least at this stage in the planning process.Committee member Chuck Ogilby said that while an expensive, nationally-recognized certification for environmental building practices would be nice, he 3can live with a simple requirement that the building, wherever possible, include environment-friendly materials.3I would like this building to be some kind of an environmental statement, he said.After a series of staff questions, the committee members pointed to the three-page wish list, saying that should be enough to get local architects ready for a presentation.Saying he wanted to avoid making the same mistakes that lead to the last design debacle, Ogilby told staff the committee had done its homework and that architects should be given the list for reference.3This thing says what this building is going to be and what it won1t be, Ogilby said, cutting off staff questions. 3If it doesn1t, we need to right off the bat clean it up.Vail Landscape Architect Todd Oppenheimer said the wish list could be 3cleaned up and attached to an 3RFQ<a request for qualification<to local architects.Committee members said the RFQ will be sent out to local architects between Vail Pass and Gypsum by early next week. It will ask architects, listed in the phone book, to submit a form of interest that includes fee structures, past projects and a timetable of availability.3We want somebody who can work with us and will be able to work on this between now and August, Donovan said.The committee will meet again today at 2 p.m.<an hour before the council1s regular work session<to discuss the architect selection process. Architects interested in the RFQ may call Todd Oppenheimer at 479-2161.Geraldine Haldner covers Vail, Minturn and Red Cliff. She can be reached at (970) 949-0555, ext. 602 or at

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