Arts center returning to 6th Street location in September

Will Grandbois

After nine weeks in limbo, the Glenwood Springs Center for the Arts is anticipating a return to its building on the end of Sixth Street — at least for now.

“Our building was deemed safe,” said director Christina Brusig. “The city of Glenwood Springs is working diligently to solve the problem.”

Specifically, the city is using $11,000 from an insurance claim to fix the historic building’s floor after a flash flood in June. While assessing the damage, workers discovered that some sections of the former hydro plant which had been deemed solid when the floor was shored up 30 years ago were in need of attention. The result was numerous displaced summer classes, which the Masonic Lodge stepped in to host, and parents and students were patient enough to accommodate.

“We’re really grateful for all the support,” Brusig said.

Now, it appears that the existing structure is sufficient to hold about 40 pounds per square foot— enough to accommodate 300 people in the main space.

“The structure is damaged but not catastrophically. It’s more from use than from the flood,” Brusig said. “Because the city values their asset, they will over time go in and shore up the floor, but step one is refinishing.”

That process is expected to last from Sept. 2-10. That means a few autumn classes will start in temporary locations, but the bulk of the season will be back in the old space. With delays in mind, a grand reopening ceremony is planned from 3-7 p.m. Friday, Sept.16.

“We’re inviting the public to come in, look at the new floor and get ready to participate in all our programming,” Brusig said.

The gift shop also will reopen at that time, while the next gallery show will wait until November.

“We’re kind of starting small,” she said.

Meanwhile, the incident has fueled the Center for the Arts looking beyond its current location.

“We have outgrown our building,” Brusig explained. “Beyond the floor, there’s still $1.3 million in improvements that need to happen.”

The center plans to continue its partnership with the Masonic Lodge, and has been eyeing the vacant former library downtown.

“We’re in the process of collaborating with other local organizations to see if we can make it a hub like the Third Street Center or the Red Brick Center,” Brusig explained. “With a space like that, we’d be able to really lift what we’re doing.”

According to Brusig, those organizations are working on a proposal to put before the city. The center also recently partnered with representatives from the Frontier Historical Society to push the city to keep its director salaries in a 1 percent special use sales tax for acquisitions and improvements, which is up for renewal in November.

At the moment, though, Brusig is just happy to be moving forward.

“It’s time to register for classes,” she said. “We’re ready to get back going, and we’re not going to miss a beat, but we’re definitely looking for a bigger, better, brighter future around the corner.”

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