Vail spends more on welcome building
VAIL, Colorado – The Vail Town Council gave the green light to spend another $405,800 Tuesday that will add electronic data and other information-related designs to the new Lionshead welcome center building currently under construction.The money would be part of a December supplemental budget appropriation for 2011, although Tuesday’s decision was enough direction for staff to go ahead and spend the money now. Another phase of so-called welcome center programming for the welcome center will come in the 2012 budget and is proposed to add another $304,700 in costs, which are expected to come from the town’s tax increment financing bonds or cash reserves. The original cost of the welcome center building was about $7 million.The three-story building contains a welcome and information center on the first floor, Vail Recreation District Youth Services space on the second floor, and a “multi-use” community room on the third floor available to rent for everything from presentations to art exhibits to small wedding receptions or other gatherings.The Subway restaurant that was in the old parking garage building that was torn down to make way for this project will not be coming back once the new building opens, which caused some changes to the budget because Subway was originally scheduled to cover part of the first floor finishing design costs.It also caused some changes to the design of that first floor. The stair case that was supposed to go from the short-term Lionshead parking area, also known as skier drop-off, and down to the first floor of the building would now cut into the middle of the expanded welcome center room because of the loss of Subway. For those coming in from the main entrance to the welcome center, which is on the south side of the building, the stairs and the door leading to the parking garage would be the focal point.Town Manager Stan Zemler said that from a design standpoint, it wasn’t desirable.The Vail Town Council decided to remove that stairway – a stairway that was to intuitively lead into the welcome center from where those who would be using that welcome center would be parking – from the design. Councilwoman Kim Newbury and Councilman Kevin Foley opposed. Council members Margaret Rogers and Andy Daly were absent from the meeting.”It seems to me you want to get them into the building as soon as you can,” said Vail resident Bob Lazier, who thought the staircase should stay.Now, those using the short-term parking area will have to follow signs that lead them out of the garage and around to the main entrance to the building, which will be where the Subway main entrance used to be.The Lionshead welcome center building is slightly behind schedule, but is still expected to open this December, Town Engineer Tom Kassmel said. The Vail Town Council took a tour of the construction site Tuesday afternoon. The concrete structure is installed, and roof framing, interior framing and utilities are also underway.Community Editor Lauren Glendenning can be reached at 970-748-2983 or firstname.lastname@example.org.