Reflecting decades of change
Town officials are hosting a grand opening gala today from 4 to 7 p.m. A few bugs still have to be worked out – from a boomingly noisy town board room to icy buildup outside the rear entrance to the police offices – but the building is ready for use by both staff and the public.
So a party is in order.
Eagle Police Chief Phil Biersdorfer says he can hardly stop smiling, since his nine-person department now has room to operate without tripping over each other.
“If we need to talk to someone in private, we can do that here,” he says.
Despite a sign in his new office that reads “Nobody sees the Wizard. Not nobody, not no how,” Biersdorfer says he has been giving tours to just about anyone who wanders into the second-story office.
Mayor Roxie Deane, who has led the town’s Board of Trustees through the new building’s gestation and birth, says she’s ready for a celebration, too. Despite some of the early bugs, she says, the new building is better for the staff and public.
“I’m really excited about this,” she says.
Long time coming
The party has been a long time in the making.
Faced with a growing population and growing staff, town officials started seriously talking about a new administration building in 1998. Money was salted away with the expectation the town could actually pay cash for the new facility. That cash would later be parlayed into funding for not one, but two facilities.
At first, town officials considered building a new headquarters at Eagle Ranch, since East West Partners, the firm developing the project, had provided land to the town for parks and other municipal purposes. That idea was criticized almost immediately as a potential death blow to the downtown area.
Trustees quickly decided to take the decision to the voters, with two options presented to Eagle voters in 2000: One would move Town Hall to Eagle Ranch; the other would put the new building at the site of Central Park, a parcel on the southeast corner of Broadway and Second Street already owned by the town.
After a campaign in which support for the Eagle Ranch site was virtually invisible, voters in the spring of 2000 overwhelmingly voted to keep Town Hall downtown.
Room to grow
With a site set, more contentious work followed. In early 2001, Gifford Spurck Associates, the Denver-based architectural firm hired by the town, presented its drawings and models to the Eagle Planning and Zoning Commission. Remarks were immediate and critical. The initial design was derided as too sterile. Critics compared the first design to a 1930s-era prison.
After a weekend of sketching, Eagle architect Glenn Harakal came up with drawings for a structure more closely resembling an old-time school house. Project architects eventually developed a compromise design acceptable to the planners and, finally, the Board of Trustees.
The result is a 13,500-square-foot building with a facade that fits into the old-time style of the rest of block on Broadway. The facility has also increased downtown parking a bit by virtue of adding spaces for town vehicles behind the facility.
More importantly, the new building has provided space for the current staff – with room to grow.
Biersdorfer says he worked with the architects on an office layout that can eventually accommodate a staff of as many as 28, including 24 road officers. He based his projections on approved and pending residential growth, which eventually could give Eagle a population roughly equal to that of Glenwood Springs today.