Sunday, October 12, 2008

SPAC facade delayed until 2010----43 yrs. and counting

SPAC façade won't be in place until 2010
By PAUL POST , The Saratogian

The present exterior view of SPAC. ERICA MILLER/The Saratogian
SARATOGA SPRINGS - Saratoga Performing Arts Center visitors will see noticeable improvements next year, but a new façade won't be in place until 2010, officials said Friday.

In May, SPAC unveiled a controversial new exterior design that critics quickly dubbed "The Stack," because of its likeness to a stack of pancakes.

That work - along with newly designed exterior ramps, lighting and sound - is part of a $2.5 million project, the third and final phase of a multi-year effort to upgrade the 42-year-old venue.

Work on the entire Phase III project was originally scheduled to begin this fall. Instead, only the ramps, lighting, sound and new restrooms will be done.


"That type of work can go on in the winter, so there's no squeeze and there should be plenty of time in the spring," SPAC Chairman William Dake said.

The façade, however, is taking longer because of the time involved with creating and getting an alternate design approved.

"We're looking at new designs and new estimates of those designs," said Alane Ball-Chinian, regional director of the state Office of Parks, Recreation and Historic Preservation. SPAC's property is owned by the state.

By next year, familiar globe lights on exterior ramps will be removed and replaced with more of a subdued type of lighting. The old sound system will be improved, too.

"They've just gotten more effective at projecting sound," Dake said.

The first two phases of SPAC work brought various infrastructure upgrades such as roof repairs, rehearsal room renovations and improvements to heating and ventilation systems. New drainage was also installed and old seats were replaced with more than 5,000 new padded models.

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