Frisco’s Slopeside Hall continues to take shape with environment in mind

Bidding, construction schedule are next steps

An illustrative site plan shows what the Slopeside Hall’s plaza in Frisco may look like. Norris Design stressed that the images on the left are mainly conceptual.
Norris Design/Courtesy image

Slopeside Hall is set to be the first net-zero emissions building for the town of Frisco. The two-story structure planned for the Peninsula Recreation Area is intended to complement the Frisco Day Lodge by providing more programming space and restrooms as well as a changing area. It also will house staff offices that are currently located in the day lodge basement.

Town Council met with representatives of Norris Design to discuss the building and three connected projects — tubing hill storage, day lodge renovations and a community plaza — at a work session Tuesday, April 12. Susan Lee, community development planner with the town, updated council on progress made with value engineering for Slopeside Hall after receiving feedback on sustainability at a Dec. 14 work session.

Lee told Town Council Tuesday that the building essentially remains as planned, but some materials have changed. For instance, gravel instead of asphalt will be used for the fire lane, saving about $350,000. After doing energy modeling, Lee said they can install a $160,000 photovoltaic solar system to offset 100% of the energy usage. A deep dive into looking at heating, ventilating and air conditioning led staff to pick a variable refrigerant flow system that saves $100,000.

“We felt it was the best balance of energy and operational efficiency,” Lee said of the system.

In between Slopeside Hall and the day lodge is a plaza that will have solar lights, in addition to a trellised stage and space for public art. Norris Design looked at winter and summer uses and made sure the stages’ flexible orientation and movable planters can accommodate smaller or larger events, as well as changes in weather. The plaza also has limited variance in grade to make it flat for snow removal.

“One of the things we were really conscious of is to make sure that we are blending the old and the new and we’re being responsible with how we bring the two areas together and make it feel really cohesive,” Megan Testin of Norris Design said. “I think it’s really going to tie those two buildings together.”

East of Slopeside Hall is the relocated yurt and proposed tube storage. Storage will be an open-air, heavy timber structure that fits a modern mountain theme with sliding barn doors. Costs are in flux, but all four projects combined are estimated to total about $7.1 million. The tube storage is about $155,000 while day lodge renovations are roughly $611,000 due to the expensive nature of installing an elevator. Built into the total is a $400,000 design and escalation contingency to account for planning tweaks and rising construction costs.

One detail to be hammered out further is the day lodge’s kitchen renovations. Council member Dan Fallon questioned the goals and scope of the kitchen and wondered if the more expansive range planned is necessary if it will primarily be for catering.

He said he is concerned about exhaust fans, grills and other aspects changing the pastoral ambiance.

“(They) really aren’t a complimentary sensory experience to what exists out there at the (Peninsula Recreation Area) right now,” Fallon said. “Overheated oil, burgers burning on a grill being vented into the atmosphere out there really is, to me, conflict with what we have going on.”

According to the town’s website, in terms of food, the lodge has a cafe in the winter with warm chili, hot dogs and nachos in addition to snacks like candy and chips. The use third-party catering services is allowed for private functions.

He acknowledge the kitchen costs were small but wanted council to be on the same page in understanding its offerings and if they want it to be a summer destination such as the Island Grill, for example.

Council member Andy Held Council said he likes the idea of more gourmet fare, while council member Melissa Sherburne said she would like a more grab-and-go experience with people not hanging out in the space for hours.

A recent planning commission meeting floated the idea of a water feature in the plaza, yet council was split. Frisco Mayor Hunter Mortensen and Mayor Pro Tem Jessica Burley were against it due to sustainability reasons.

“We’re losing enough water daily with climate change,” Mortensen said. “I don’t think we need to exacerbate that anyway.”

Sherburne said that, as a mother, she finds possibility appealing. However, she agreed that it would need to be done efficiently.

“It just doesn’t really exist,” Sherburne said. “We can’t have outdoor swimming pools … for a tiny little window in the summer it would be really magical. So if there’s a way to look into that with recycled water or in a sustainable way, in my opinion I would love to explore that.”

When construction documents and a bid package is complete, staff will work to solicit bids and develop a schedule for construction in 2022.

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