|The Carbon Coummunity Center at the fairgrounds is several years old and the facility has served the local area well. The county will be moving into phase two of an ongoing project at the fairgrounds by adding a 14,000 square foor conference center to the north side of the existing building.|
The Carbon County Commission approved the issuance of $600,000 in revenue bonds on March 16 to expand the community center at the fairgrounds.
The initial construction project, which was started in 2001, completed the first phase of the building.
Since then, the facility has been used for a variety of things from being the showcase building for county fair exhibits to hosting public meetings.
The next phase of the ongoing project will increase the size of the facility by 14,000 square feet and the space will be added onto the north end of the existing building.
On Monday, a committee made up of county employees Dave Levanger, Evan Hansen and Ray Hanson along with Carbon Recreation and Transportation Special Service District board members Jerry Jensen and Tom Bruno interviewed two of nearly a dozen architectural firms bidding on the the design for the project.
Carbon Commissioner Bill Krompel also sat in on the interview.
The two candidates included Gould Evans Architecture and MHTN Architects of Salt Lake.
Following the interview, the county committee selected the MHTN to do the design for the community center expansion.
In addition, the county has hired Jacobsen Construction to manage the construction of the project.
The duties of Jacobsen will be to develop a schedule of design, approval, procurement and the setting of construction goals and time lines.
The construction company will also help with life cycle costs analysis and bid process management.
MHTN Architects will begin immediately to design the building so that a deadline for completion in 2006 can be met, according to county officials.
The expansion will be the second of possibly three phases at the community center.
It appears that the new section will be added onto the present building on the north end of the facility where the large roll up door now exists.
When the facility is completed the main emphasis for the building will be to hold conventions.
The opening of that facility ties in with the recent hire of a convention planner by the county in the economic development office.
It is forecast that events in the building could add positive economic impacts to the Carbon County area.
Other uses for the building will also include large public meetings, fair exhibits and even some types of sporting events.
The building expansion will be blended in with the present structure to look as if it were built at the same time, although its connection to the present structure may be a glass atrium running from the present large opening that exists to the new building.
The total estimated cost for the approved phase II design and construction will be a little over $1 million.
A third phase to the building may or may not be built. Formerly known as the Robbers Roost Convention Center, the next phase would include an indoor arena, but some feel such a facility would not pay for itself.
However proponents of the arena point to Uintah County where a similar type of facility has seemed to generate a great deal of money in the community. One set of figures they use to prove that the center in Vernal has brought a positive economic impact on Uintah County is the increased sales in the county. Since 1999, the year before the center opened sales revenues jumped from $331,526,601 to $484,733,738 in 2003.
During the same period Carbon Counties sales revenues have remained relatively flat, although in 2003 the sales were $11 million under 1999 levels.