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Open house Oct. 7 on 'initial concepts' for new Summit House atop Pikes Peak

With a backdrop of Pikes Peak above the Gateway Rocks, the Sweetwater Indian Dancers join attendees in a circle dance at the annual Earth Day at the Garden of the Gods Visitor Center in April 2005. Conceptual plans for a new Summit House atop the Peak will be presented at an open house Oct. 7.
Westside Pioneer file photo
       An open house revealing the “initial concepts” for a new Pikes Peak visitor center will be held Wednesday, Oct. 7 at the Garden of the Gods Trading Post.
       The time frame will be 4:30 to 7 p.m., with presentations at 5 and 6. The Trading Post is a retail business and restaurant at 324 Beckers Lane in Manitou Springs. The open house will be in its Peak View Conference Center.
       “In addition to design concepts, information about interpretive exhibits, landscaping, sustainability, water, permafrost and mechanical challenges, other aspects of the design process will be presented,” a City of Colorado Springs press release states.
       Hosting the meeting will be city officials and their design contractor, RTA Architects (a local firm working with GWWO of Baltimore), which “are seeking input on the initial concepts for the new visitor center atop Pikes Peak,” the release adds. “Citizens and interested parties are invited to attend the open house and provide feedback.”
       The current Summit House visitor center was built in the early 1960s. It is operated as a city enterprise by Pikes Peak-America's Mountain (PPAM), under a special use permit from the U.S. Forest Service. Other facilities on the summit are a U.S. Army high-altitude research lab and a Colorado Springs Utilities plant and communications station.
       “The deteriorating conditions of the existing buildings have prompted the City of Colorado Springs, in partnership with the U.S. Forest Service, the U.S. Army and Colorado Springs Utilities, to embark on a process to design and build a new Summit Visitor Center on one site and to consolidate the plant building, communications facility and [lab] on a second site,” the press release continues.
       According to Stuart Coppedge of RTA Architects (as quoted in the press release), 600,000 people travel to the summit each year. They get there by car, by rail or by hiking trail. “The desire of the RTA/GWWO team is to design buildings and site improvements that are functional, maintainable, energy-efficient, educational, inspirational and timeless,” he said.
       Also quoted in the release was PPAM manager Jack Glavan: “We are excited to be able to gather community input on the initial concepts. The presentation and displays will give citizens a better understanding of the challenges of designing and constructing new facilities atop a 14,115-foot mountain.”

Westside Pioneer/press release
(Posted 9/29/15; Projects: Summit House)

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