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Tue, Dec. 10

Amphitheater expansion: three plans up for review at council

Architect Doug Stroh presented three different looks to a proposed amphitheater structure to the Prescott Valley Arts and Culture Commission this past Wednesday night. He returns tomorrow evening to make a presentation before the Prescott Valley Town Council at a 5:30 work study session that includes discussion on the entire Civic Center Remodel Project.

The town has $350,000 to spend on an expansion of the current Civic Center amphitheater. The A&C commissioners and a small audience heard from Stroh of Stroh Architecture, Inc., and Kim Moon, Town of Prescott Valley Capital Projects coordinator.

"The project has been on the map since the mid-nineties," said PV Parks and Recreation Director Brian Witty, paid with funds from impact fees from new home sales. Development Impact Fees are one-time charges applied to new residential and commercial construction to alleviate the impact on current public improvements and infrastructure.

Moon said the money has accumulated over the years, and the amphitheater project is part of a larger overall remodel of the Civic Center. The expanded stage will provide a roof, electrical power supply, and an audio system for performances. It encompasses four parts, the expansion of the current stage area, a fountain, trees, and provisions for artwork.

The current stage area at the amphitheater is about 800 sq. ft., and the plan is to extend one side to the west and out the front to double the size to 1,600 sq. ft.

Moon said events at the amphitheater often have problems with wind and sun exposure and lack of lighting after sunset. At times, the town has put up shade canopies for performers and the audience. A permanent structure with side walls and roof would help with the varied outdoor conditions.

The architect provided commissioners with three possible roof designs.

"In our opinion, all three work quite well," Stroh said, adding that he plans to use rustic and blue colors that work with existing buildings. All three designs utilize wood soffits, the undersurface of the roof, similar to the library building.

None of the three plans are designed for acoustics; that would take more money than is in the budget, Stroh said. The structure would be wired for amplification systems, and the roof selections wouldn't affect sound quality.

The sound system planned for the amphitheater would work for smaller groups and individual speakers, but larger bands or performance groups would have to provide their own equipment, Stroh said.

The planned stage is about 30 ft. deep and 60 ft. wide. The town requested clear visibility, Moon said, so there is no back to the theater. Stage productions would need to add their own structure or curtains for a backdrop.

Commissioner Judith Berry asked if an acoustic shell could be added later, and the response was no, acoustic design is very complicated. Stroh said the current design would not limit performances because all sound would be electronically amplified.

Discussion also revolved around the mechanics of hanging lights, speakers and amplifier panels; protection from wind and weather; storage space; wings at one or both sides; and provisions for a movie screen. Some of these questions can't be answered until the council selects one roof design, Stroh said. Then his firm would proceed with the design development. He said after the meeting that he would consider channeling rainwater runoff into storm drains or a water storage system.

Moon said once the council picks the structure, Stroh would finalize the design within three to four weeks, the town would send it out to bid - a process which takes about two months - and then construction, which takes about three to four months. She estimated it could be completed by December.

Musician Lee Power said he had concerns about sound rising, bouncing off the roof and dispersing. He also mentioned wind flow without a back to the structure and suggested putting in a back wall and installing closed circuit cameras to inhibit vandalism.

Another audience member suggested solar panels; however, the roof faces north, not south, Witty explained.

Witty said after the meeting that, although steps lead up to the stage in front on both sides, people with disabilities requiring a ramp would be able to access the stage by going around one side and entering from the back.

Plans for the artwork are to locate the "Not So Gentle Tamer" statue on the Civic Center grounds at the intersection of Lakeshore Drive and Lake Valley Road. Stroh is donating design services valued at $3,500. Civiltec Engineering is donating services of $3,654 that include sidewalk expansion, a foundation to support the statue, irrigation, lighting, and street light relocation.

The council work study session is open to the public and begins at 5:30 p.m. on Thursday, March 7, in the auditorium at the Prescott Valley Library.

The council does not vote on agenda items during work study sessions, nor do they typically take comments from the public. For more information or to comment prior to the work study session, call Brian Witty at 928-759-3090.

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