Friday, September 19, 2008

SPAC facade stalled, Saratogian, 9/16/08

Budget, design stall SPAC facade overhaul
By ANN MARIE FRENCH , The Saratogian

SARATOGA SPRINGS - While renovations of other parts of the Saratoga Performing Arts Center are moving forward, the overhaul to the facade continues to be stalled in discussion of conceptual designs and budget numbers.


Alane Chinian, regional director of the New York State Office of Parks, Recreation, and Historic Preservation, said Wednesday the conceptual redesign of the building came in over budget, but she did not offer detailed figures.

The original design, presented in May, was meant to reflect musical sound waves and the waves of streams passing through the park, said Bob Bristol, president and CEO of Saratoga Associates, the company behind the design. Bristol said the amphitheater's new look was under design for roughly a year, with input and review by Parks and the SPAC board. The wave-like patterns were to be made of beige-colored recycled material. Critics said it looked more like a stack of pancakes than waves.

"They are proposing something much more conservative, which is really an updating of what is there now," said Chinian. "We want to reflect SPAC as a modern, contemporary, world-class facility but still stay in budget."

The amphitheater has not seen major exterior improvements since it opened in 1966. Globe lights on outside ramps leading to the balcony will be replaced with more subdued ground illumination. The ramps themselves will see a facelift as will the sound system and renovations to the lower level restrooms.

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