Memorial Auditorium project moves forwardWORTHINGTON — Architectural plans for the Memorial Auditorium addition are about 80 percent complete, reported Short Elliott Hendrickson Inc. Project Architect David Cihasky, and the firm hopes to solicit bids for construction in March or April.
By: Laura Grevas, Worthington Daily Globe
WORTHINGTON — Architectural plans for the Memorial Auditorium addition are about 80 percent complete, reported Short Elliott Hendrickson Inc. Project Architect David Cihasky, and the firm hopes to solicit bids for construction in March or April.
Members of Memorial Auditorium’s Renovation Committee met Wednesday to review a stack of blueprints showing the most recent plans for the addition.
And while much of the addition’s interior and exterior design has been confirmed, debate continues about whether a conventional cooling and heating system should be scrapped in favor of geothermal energy.
The “greener” but more expensive geothermal energy would save on energy costs in the long run, but the technology could take up to 37 years to pay itself off.
And because the auditorium is such a large space, “We’ll need auxiliary cooling (units) along with the geothermal,” said SEH Engineer Steve Robinson. “It’s an added expense.”
Going the geothermal route is an expense that might be offset by state project grants and long-term savings in the face of increasing energy costs, but the city council will decide in coming weeks whether it’s an expense that’s justified.
City council member Mike Woll, who said he was initially excited about the possibility of using environmentally-friendly technology, said he still doesn’t want to rush ahead with a decision that may not be in the best interest of the project.
“Are we trying to put a square peg in a round hole?” he asked, saying, “Maybe this isn’t the right project to do this.” Both the conventional and geothermal units would run for a comparable amount of time before they needed maintenance or replacing.
Other energy-efficient options were discussed, including adding more efficient light bulbs, insulating the interior backstage walls and paving the parking lot with permeable material, which would allow rain water to run back into the ground.
Rather than invest in geothermal energy, “It might make more sense to do something like (a permeable parking lot),” said Cihasky.
Among other details revealed in Wednesday’s meeting: frosted glass panels will be used in the outside windows on the addition and the guard rails on the interior staircases, and the architects continue to explore ways to use limestone pieces from the former Central Elementary School in the design. They also suggested building an allowance into the budget that would fund a painter to touch up paint and plaster in the current auditorium.
Outside, “We’re leaning toward a minimal parking lot,” Robinson said. The driveways will be widened to allow for two-way traffic.
Construction is set to begin in late May, following demolition of the existing ramp and bathrooms.