Stage debut for one-time barn
GYPSUM – Call it the end result of some great community generosity.Gypsum’s new amphitheater will make its debut just in time for this year’s Gypsum Daze celebration next weekend. The variety of activities planned for the facility that weekend – including a melodrama staged by a local theater group, a kid’s talent show, and concerts by some nationally-known country singers – illustrate just how much that stage will be used.The amphitheater has a new name with historical ties: The Lundgren Amphitheater, named for the family that homesteaded the area and built the scenic barn that has been transformed into an outdoor stage.”We’re excited about having a permanent home for Gypsum Daze, but we’re even more excited about the phone calls and requests we’ve been getting for use of the facility,” Gypsum Town Manager Jeff Shroll says.The town administration is scrambling to set up an amphitheater-use policy. They’re already getting requests from local theater groups, acoustic bands, the Bravo! music foundation, and others. Shroll says he envisions future weekly concerts in the park, high school graduations and weddings.
“It is a place for the community to come and enjoy,” he says.Town leaders made a point of saving as much of the historical integrity of the Lundgren barn as they could, he says. The barn was moved a short distance to the southern edge of the town’s property on Valley Road. In total, the Amphitheater has been about a $500,000 project. Of that amount, some $200,000 came from donations from local businesses, non-profit organizations, and various foundations.Among the major contributors were Gypsum ($300,000), Eagle County ($50,000), the Gates Foundation ($47,000), the Boettcher Foundation ($20,000), the El Pomar Foundation ($10,000), the Eagle River Foundation ($10,000), and CenturyTel ($10,000).Other cash donations came from Alpine Bank, the Eagle County Historical Society, ASW Development, Western Eagle County Metropolitan Recreation District, Vail Valley Jet Center, Mayne Block, Landscape Workshop and Tim McMichael, Tom Edwards, Donna Giordano, WestStar Bank, and the law firm of Collins, Cockrel and Cole and Patrick, Miler and Kropf.
Locally, the community raised over $3,000 for the project though the Gypsum Daze 5K event, and through a circus staged in town in 2003.Shroll also credits many local business for their in-kind contributions.Contractor Ted Seipel offered a reduced price for his work. American Gypsum Wallboard and Johnson & Kunkel Surveying donated in-kind services and supplies. Jeff Shreeve was instrumental in a gas-conduit donation from Kinder Morgan Natural Gas. Scott and Cappie Green donated dirt hauling and sewer-line installation.Gypsum Town Council Member Tom Edwards earns some thanks for his personal dedication in helping to raise funds.The architecture of the amphitheater allows the historical structure of the barn to shine. The stage will accommodate the big, Gypsum Daze performances. In past years, the town has rented a stage at a cost of about $20,000 per year.
“We are very grateful to the community for helping this project get off the ground,” Shroll says. “We hope you all make it to Gypsum Daze.”Vail, Colorado