The New Building
The Center continues to pursue its vision of a new home for the arts that will serve the Wood River Valley community for generations to come. This multifunctional, world-class facility will be a year-round hub of educational, entertaining, and inspiring cultural programs that will draw both local residents and visitors to gather, celebrate, and share experiences through the arts.
As of February 2014, The Center is revisiting its plans to construct a building on Lot 1 of the Simplot Subdivision across from the Ketchum Post Office. Much has changed for The Center and the community since the project was initiated in 2006. The Center has experienced significant growth in programs, merged with Company of Fools, and successfully weathered the challenges of an economic downturn. As a result, the board and staff believe it is time to initiate a fresh planning process to meet The Center’s future needs and those of the entire community.
Developments since 2006
The first two years of the campaign secured $6.5 million in gifts and pledges. During that time, The Center purchased the property at the corner of Second Avenue and 4th Street, completed architectural and engineering designs for a new facility, and pursued the relevant municipal approvals. Unfortunately, efforts to raise the additional funds needed to begin building stalled in 2008 due to the economic environment, and further work on the project slowed for several years.
After merger discussions with Company of Fools began in 2012, and the economy began to recover, we redesigned the building to create a more comprehensive and versatile year-round home for an expanded Center and other community presenters. The revised plan offered cost savings that would have enabled us to begin construction more quickly. For instance, the original plan included over $1 million in costs for 36 underground parking spaces. Given an abundance of parking in west Ketchum our revised design excluded this design element.
For some 19 months between July, 2012 and February, 2014 The Center was in negotiations with the City of Ketchum and Simplot Ketchum Properties, LLC (“Simplots”) on proposed design changes. The City of Ketchum has been supportive of initiatives that would create momentum for starting construction. Unfortunately, The Center was not able to reach an agreement with the Simplots. After much deliberation, The Center board and staff believe that further efforts are unlikely to yield results. While we hold the property on 2nd Ave as an asset and have benefitted from extensive planning and negotiating, we have determined that the best course forward is to reconsider all options for a new home and discontinue the original project.
The Center’s programming and outreach have grown stronger and deeper over the last five years, making the case for a new building even more compelling. A new Center for the Arts is invaluable to the entire Wood River Valley and its future economy. We still have a critical need for a consolidated facility where we can present museum-quality exhibitions, nationally prominent speakers, theatrical productions, and music.
During 2014 Center staff and board will be contacting stakeholders to engage in a dialog to re-imagine a new home that will be in the best interest of the Wood River Valley.
- Museum-quality exhibition space
- A Center Stage for lectures, films, music performances, and theatre
- Classroom spaces that support The Center’s important educational mission
- A park-like outdoor area that provides a gathering space for the community and a venue for outdoor sculpture, performances, and events
- Ample lobby space for Center gatherings and receptions
- Office space to house Center employees for the foreseeable future
For more information about The Center’s new building project or to participate in our future fundraising efforts, please contact Kris Poole, Artistic Director or Kathryn McNeal, Director of Development.