Breck gets peek at ideas for new ‘discovery center’ |

Breck gets peek at ideas for new ‘discovery center’

Summit Daily/Reid Williams The town-owned Bailey Building, located on the south side of Blue River Plaza in Breck, is being studied for conversion to uses consistent to its new name, the Breckenridge Discovery Center.

BRECKENRIDGE – Plans are under way to renovate the Bailey Building – now tentatively being called the Breckenridge Discovery Center – into a facility that will educate people about the history of town.Toni and Mike Roybal of the Aspen-based architecture firm, Roybal Corp., outlined to the town council an array of display possibilities the center could incorporate, ranging from natural resources to the various booms the town has experienced.The town purchased the building this spring and intends to use it as an information center. The building has undergone numerous remodels over the years, and during demolition, workers found a historic cabin in the center of the structure.That structure will be renovated and used to tell the many stories Breckenridge has to tell.

Toni Roybal proposed that the center feature a front lobby area, rear gift shop and five interactive interpretive exhibit themes: Experience Breckenridge, Historic Cabin, Environmental Stewardship, Booms and Busts and Ski Boom.Roybal envisions the Experience Breckenridge exhibit as a place with a general store feel to it, where people can obtain more information about the town.The cabin would be designed so visitors would feel as if they’re walking into a historic town, she said, and would feature historic artifacts, information about the gold rush, regional history and historic photos in mock windows.The rear of the building would contain topics like environmental stewardship and depict the mining era, the ensuing environmental damage and what the town has done to mitigate it.A staircase leading upstairs would feature photos of the railroading days with windows facing Bald Mountain where visitors can see the cut made into the hillside by the rail companies.

Another part of the room would summarize the ski boom and feature a window overlooking the resort. Another theme that could be incorporated could include the geology, ecology, climate and geography of the area.The general layout would allow people to wend their way through the various exhibits, most of which would be interactive.”People retain 10 percent of what they hear and 30 percent of what they read,” Roybal said, explaining the importance of interactive displays. “They retain 50 percent of what they see and 90 percent of what they do. And you never do exhibits in a linear manner. People should be able to experience things as they want to.”Among the elements the council was asked to consider was placement of the bathrooms, which would take up almost a third of the exhibit space if placed upstairs. The council ultimately decided it would be best to excavate the front of the building and place the restrooms downstairs.The estimated cost of the work is $2.3 million, and the town has $2.55 million budgeted.

The town hopes work can begin on the facility this spring.Jane Stebbins can be reached at (970) 668-3998, ext. 228, or at

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