PITCH THE TENT!
The Multi-use-facility (or MUF) appears to be gaining traction.
This week, on Tuesday January 7, both Mammoth Lakes Recreation and the Recreation Commission received an update on the progress made by Town staff designated to the project.
At the Recreation Commission meeting Stuart Brown, the Town of Mammoth Lakes Parks and Recreation Director, explained where they are in the process, “Staff have made a recommendation that the PEDC adopt the resolution. With that action it does not need to go to Town Council. So once that has been finalized through the PEDC that takes care of the environmental review, it opens the door for the public bid process, and hopefully we can get into construction right away.”
Brown then gave a tentative timeline for the project, “So far we have completed a look at summer 2021. We are proposing Memorial weekend right now (of 2021) and then the first winter would be November (of 2021).”
Both of the previously mentioned organizations have been receiving updates and giving design advice to the team as to how they want the final product to look.
On January 8, the Planning and Economic Development Commission received a more in depth presentation of the project to review and possibly accept as the project nears the bid stage.
Sandra Moberly, the Community and Economic Director for the Town, gave some background to the project.
On October 11, 2017, PEDC approved a design review to allow MUF construction at 686 Old Mammoth Road.
Town Council then directed staff to find a design that could be constructed for a total cost of $13 million as the previous design was thought to be too expensive.
On June 5, 2019, Town Council voted 3-2 authorizing staff to design and develop the MUF as a fabric tensile structure otherwise known as a “Sprung Structure.” For anyone who doesn’t know what this is, a “Sprung Structure” is essentially a big tent similar to the structure next to Eagle Lodge.
Moberly then explained what the current project was proposing:
-40,300 sq. ft. Sprung Structure located on SW corner of the Mammoth Creek park site.
-The structure will be 56 feet tall
-The first floor is a 26,000 sq. ft. Olympic-sized Ice rink that converts into a 3-court gymnasium in the summer. Additionally, there will be a 2,150 sq. ft. multi-purpose room with public restrooms, concessions, rentals and offices.
-The second floor will have a large stadium-style seating area, a mezzanine and viewing deck and a 2,500 sq. ft. community room and kitchen.
-And finally, 115-120 parking spaces
The structure thus far has been in the design process, with the team working within the confines of a “Sprung Structure” to create a facility that has a color palette and aesthetic consistent with the Town’s “branding.”
The PEDC design committee that met the previous day was concerned with items such as “too much white” or “questions regarding additional Town logos.” Pedantic? Yes. But at some point these issues must be addressed.
Haislip Hayes, Town Engineering Manager, then changed gears.
“Really, the goal here is to approve the design today and to help facilitate that Brandon (Gullotti) our architect from HMC (architect consultant hired by TOML) has some virtual reality slides to show you guys that will help to visualize what this structure will look like in it’s setting,” said Hayes.
It was awesome.
The meeting continued as any meeting would while PEDC members were taking turns putting on virtual reality goggles, spinning in circles, and pressing the button to see the next view of the proposed MUF.
The Sheet got a turn to put on the goggles and it was essentially a picture slideshow of the architects design that allowed the user to feel like they were in the proposed “Sprung Structure.”
The PEDC then got its turn to question Town Staff.
PEDC chairman Michael Vanderhurst asked, “For clarification for someone watching at home, there are no plans to relocate or eliminate the playground?”
Moberly responded, “that is true.”
Vanderhurst continued, “The bike path network in that area doesn’t change at all?”
Hayes fielded this one, “No, if anything we will be adding to it.”
Then there was a long conversation regarding the amount of white on the structure. The concern was that someone in the mountains, or the Sherwins, would look down on the Town and it would be an eyesore.
But then Vanderhurst asked what was next for the MUF, “Sandra maybe you can enlighten us a little bit on the future pathway for this project. If the design review is approved today, what are the next steps? Does it go to Town Council after this?”
“No the PEDC is the final decision maker for the design review. We are going to present an update to Town Council next week but they won’t be making any decision, or any action about design review.” Moberly said before explaining that they could approve the design as is or bring it back one more time if the colors/logos were a lingering issue.
Before PEDC had its final word, Betsy Truax of the Recreation Commission and Matt McClain of Mammoth Lakes Recreation endorsed the project during public comment.
PEDC member Jessica Kennedy endorsed the project while praising the color scheme, including the white.
Vice Chair of the PEDC Jennifer Burrows wrote a statement on the project which essentially endorsed the project with a warning that the Town not rush the project and time should be spent picking colors that are appropriate. Additionally, Burrows emphasized that the project should be self-sustaining and should not rely solely on the Town for monetary support.
Commissioner Greg Eckert said, “I don’t like that we are building this project to a number and not a design,” and ended with “If we are going to build a Sprung Structure then this is fine, but I just don’t like the Sprung Structure.”
Commissioner Paul Chang concluded his comments by stating, “With the constraints we have, I think this is an overall good product.”
And finally Vanderhurst supported the project but said he would like to see a TOML logo on the top of the Sprung Structure and was interested in the cost analysis of doing so.
The design review passed 4-1, with the modification that it comes back to the design committee one more time. Commissioner Eckert was the lone no vote.
Town Staff will look into alternatives to the amount of white on the tent and the cost of a TOML logo on top and bring it back for review of just those two items prior to the issuance of a building permit.
This won’t slow the process down as Staff still needs approval from Town Council before committing the hard cash.