Breckenridge community center paints picture of restoration progress |

Breckenridge community center paints picture of restoration progress

Breckenridge town council members gather March 25, 2014 in front of the old chimney from the 1909 schoolhouse in the Breckenridge Grand Vacations Community Center building on Harris Street. The building is set to open late in the fall.
Kelsey Fowler / |

Chipping away the paint on the two staircases inside the red brick Harris Street building in Breckenridge revealed bright greens, purples and pinks as the layers of history peeled away to show the original grain.

As demolition winds down at the new Breckenridge Grand Vacations Community Center, construction crews are working on the historical renovation and new blueprint, which will house the South Branch Library as well as a number of nonprofit offices and a 160-seat movie theater.

The Breckenridge Town Council toured the space on Tuesday to see the progress of the rehabilitation, which includes interior work on rough electrical, rough plumbing, framing, underground HVAC ducts, mezzanine steel and staining of the trusses.

The project is on track, and on budget, to open in the late fall — most likely November.

“We’ve almost been working on several projects at once, and now it’s about bringing them together.”
Graham Johnson
Community center project manager

“We’re excited to stop demo and actually start rebuilding,” said project manager Graham Johnson.

The historic building’s windows have been down in Denver all winter being restored, and the crew will start working on the window frames and sills next week, Johnson said. Most of the masonry work has to wait for summer, he said, because the temperature has to be above 40 degrees.

The main level houses the majority of the library, with separate teen, junior and children’s rooms, which will include sliding barn doors and a slide coming down from the second floor.

The original 1909 brick chimney will remain exposed on the first floor, along with the wood beams in the ceilings. An elevated reading platform on the main floor lines up with the west-facing windows. The library will also have an outdoor reading deck, currently just a rough wooden platform.

“This is my new office,” Councilman Ben Brewer said, looking out to the porch.

Strips of the old gym floor, red stripes still visible, will be kept in small areas of the library, which will mostly be carpeted. The upper level, up the restored wooden staircases, includes numerous offices for nonprofits, including The Summit Foundation, and will feature a small local history collection near the fireplace, said Liz Hallas, architect with Anderson Hallas Architects, who led the tour.

“We’ve been working in different stages, in the 1909 and the 1921 building sections,” Johnson said. “We’ve almost been working on several projects at once, and now it’s about bringing them together.”

On the lower level, a vast open space with high ceilings will house a large community room space and the new Speakeasy movie theater, which will have a separate entrance through a new north addition that is under construction.

“It’s a historical building and we want to respect the integrity of that,” Hallas said.

A coffee shop will take over the space that used to be the old sheriff’s office on the lower level. Rocks and soil still line the floors downstairs, but most of the indoor framing for the rooms has been completed.

“Not many places have a library and a movie theater,” Hallas said. “We have looked a lot at keeping the spaces separate and the acoustics involved.”

Johnson hasn’t met any ghosts so far, he said, but with several months’ work remaining, he’s holding onto the hope of running into one.

Councilman Mark Burke supported the idea of creating a time capsule for the project.

“We want to keep up the momentum,” Johnson said. “We’re going to fly in the summer.”

For more information about the community center project, visit

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