Wednesday, February 22, 2012

ice skating at victoria pool even on an unusually warm and beautiful late february day. what could be better?

SPAC facade changes have begun, 2/22/12.

victoria pool will open in less than 100 days.

SPAC to get its facelift at last.

Dakes donate $500K for new SPAC facade

Tuesday, February 21, 2012

By Lee Coleman (Contact)
Gazette Reporter

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Shown is a computer-generated image of the new amphitheatre fa├žade to be built at Saratoga Performing Arts Center.

SARATOGA SPRINGS — William Dake, board chairman of Stewart’s Shops, and his wife, Susan, are donating a new facade for the Saratoga Performing Arts Center, SPAC officials said Monday.

Renovation of the nearly 50-year-old exterior of the center’s amphitheater in the Saratoga Spa State Park will start immediately and be ready for the upcoming season.

The Dakes said in a statement released Monday their gift was motivated by a recognition of “SPAC’s cultural and economic impact on the greater Capital Region.”

The donation is $500,000, according to SPAC officials.

“Bill [Dake] really sees the need for it,” said Marcia White, president and executive director of SPAC.

Dake is the outgoing chairman of the SPAC Board of Directors. He will be succeeded by Susan Phillips Read, an associate justice on the state Court of Appeals.

White said the current wooden facade of the amphitheater is deteriorating. The new facade will keep the amphitheater’s original “shield” design but enhance and replace the old exterior with weather-resistant materials, White said.

The state Office of Parks, Recreation and Historic Preservation has already invested more than $4.5 million on improvements to the amphitheater, including new seating and extensive interior work, since 2005.

A renovation of the amphitheater facade was planned in early 2008 but the unpopular proposed design for the facade — some compared the design to a stack of pancakes — and the start of the recession scrapped the project.

The facade being donated by the Dakes will retain the current exterior “shield” design, which has elements of a Medieval festival look, White said.

“We are thrilled to support this new facade project, a terrific example of leveraging state funding with private investments to sustain a magnificent facility,” state parks Commissioner Rose Harvey said in a prepared statement. “We thank the Dake family for their outstanding generosity.”

“We are really grateful they are willing to step up” and replace the facade, said Alane Ball Chinian, executive director of the Saratoga-Capital District Region of the state Office of Parks, Recreation and Historic Preservation.

Chinian said she is pleased the facade work will be completed in time for the upcoming performance season. “As a private partner, they can move forward more quickly [than the state],” Chinian said.

In recent years, the deterioration of the amphitheater’s exterior has become visibly pronounced. The current board-and-batten siding has endured five decades of upstate weather conditions and as a result, there is significant warping, fading, wood rot and disintegration, SPAC officials said in a statement.

Bonacio Construction of Saratoga Springs was selected to do the work after a competitive bidding process, said SPAC officials.

Wood veneer panels of Parklex, a high-density, weather-resistant material, will be fastened to the exterior of each shield frame.

Existing surfaces on the amphitheater side and roof dormers will be replaced with a brown, durable, weather-resistant fiber cement board.

The project also includes replacement and repositioning of the speakers currently mounted on the facade that project sound to the lawn. Upgraded speakers will be built into the shield facade and positioned at a higher level to provide better audio coverage and quality on the lawn.

The current speakers sit too low in the enclosure for the acreage that needs to be reached, resulting in audio gaps in some areas of the lawn, SPAC officials said.

“I am inspired by the extraordinary generosity of this latest gift from the Dake family to Saratoga Performing Arts Center. From the very beginning to the present day, the Dakes have been SPAC’s strongest allies, investing vision, leadership and resources to advance this treasured landmark,” White said in a statement.

The timeline for the construction work is:

-- February-March: Removal of the wooden shields on the amphitheater facade and board and batten on the sides; prefabrication of three-dimensional steel frame followed by attachment of Parklex siding.

-- Early spring: Installation of three-dimensional shields on facade and cement board on sides and dormers and the integration of upgraded speakers into the facade structure.

The work is expected to be complete by the end of May.

The state has invested more than $4.5 million in the SPAC facilities since 2005. The renovations included the installation of a new amphitheater roof, repair of the pedestrian bridge and sewage system upgrades. In 2007, the interior of SPAC’s amphitheater was revamped with all new, larger padded seating and other interior renovations. Recent projects include restroom renovations and improvements