County to consider new design contract to replace Nordic ski lodge

Natrona County Commissioner and Vice Chairman Brook Kaufman, Building Superintendent Justin Smith, Parks Superintendent Mike Haigler, Commissioner Rob Hendry, Chairman Paul Bertoglio and Commissioner Dave North inspect the proposed location of a new pavilion on Tuesday, July 6 (Gregory Hirst)

CASPER, Wyo. – A third architectural firm has signed on for a chance to design a replacement for the Casper Mountain Trails Center, which was demolished due to structural issues in late 2020.

Natrona County Parks Deputy Superintendent Michael Brown told the commission during a working session on Tuesday that two companies had responded to the latest request for proposals (RFP) and their contracts should be submitted to the approval of the commissioners during one of its first two meetings. in March.

Brown told Oil City on Friday that the selection committee (including a county commissioner, county construction and maintenance staff, members of the parks board and a citizen engineer) interviewed the two companies and rated them. depending on the strength of the proposal (prices have been sealed).

Casper-based Amundsen Associates was selected, Brown said, and the contract is currently undergoing legal review.

Commission Chairman Paul Bertoglio told Oil City that previous engagements with the architects had not progressed due to significant discrepancies in the imagined scope of the project.

Stateline No. 7. The architects first presented their designs in December 2020 after soliciting feedback from stakeholders. The most elaborate of these designs, estimated at around $3 million, included a full commercial kitchen and an outdoor amphitheater, a venue designed to host events like weddings. One design also involved relocating to an area that required some tree clearing and extensive concrete work to ensure ADA compliance, Bertoglio said.

Design work done by MOA Architecture last summer ran into similar issues, although some designs and geotechnical fieldwork were produced that may inform new architects. Bertoglio estimated the county had already invested between $60,000 and $70,000 between the two previous design contacts.

Bertoglio said the commission was asking for a “functional and pleasant” warming hut for skiers with a catering kitchen (instead of a full commercial kitchen) and forced-air heating, and so large that it requires a system fire extinguisher.

Brown said the contract being drafted would include design, engineering and tendering and construction management.

Bertoglio said the request for qualifications was designed to prompt a range of options. Whether the new lodge will be a prefabricated building or an original construction will be part of the discussions as the contract progresses.

Bertoglio said the county had a “verbal agreement” with the Natrona County School District that the school would pay half of the construction costs.

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