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 CTA Architects Engineers
These renderings by CTA Architects Engineers and Kansas City-based Populous show updated plans for Rimrock Auto Arena at MetraPark. (Courtesy photo)

Architects working on plans to repair the Rimrock Auto Arena at MetraPark presented county officials and the MetraPark advisory board on Thursday with an updated design proposal that features more bathrooms, two new elevators, a more open walkway and ticketing area on the concourse level and plenty of new windows.

It was the second time this month that architects from CTA Architects Engineers and Populous, a national design firm out of Kansas City, Mo., brought designs to Yellowstone County Commissioners and the advisory board. Thursday’s presentations, one in the morning and one in the afternoon, showed a slightly tweaked design from a Sept. 8 meeting.

“We want to not only bring this building back to what it was but maybe to what it could be,” said Brad Clark, with Populous.

The arena was severely damaged by a June 20 tornado.

Clark laid out previous proposed changes to the arena, including consolidating the main doors at the building’s north face as part of a more-welcoming entrance with large glass windows and doors, as well as a few new tweaks.

Those changes included four additions to each corner of the entryway level for bathrooms, a more open walkway and turnstile area with concession areas and a translucent material for part of the ceiling on the lower-level walkways that would allow natural light in during the day and give the arena more light outside at night.

“I think the changes are good,” said County Commissioner Bill Kennedy, who took in the day’s first presentation. “They’ve shored it up so it fits in with other parts of the campus.”

Clark said Populous and CTA looked at other buildings at MetraPark, using things like the two small towers at the Expo Center and the design of the Grandstand for inspiration.

The designs showed about 70 new toilets and urinals, with about two thirds of them in women’s restrooms. They also included plans for two new sets of stairs and elevators on the east and west sides of the building and better handicapped access.

“It’s exciting, the progress we made today,” said Bill Dutcher, MetraPark’s general manager. “It’s a continuous process.”

As a result of the morning meeting with the commissioners, the project’s needs and wants were split into two phases. The first phase deals with essential parts of the repair, the ones that can be afforded in the immediate future and some of the wants that have risen to the forefront in public opinion, like an improved sound system.

The second phase includes projects the county hopes to implement down the road but can’t do without more money, such as a bridge from the upper parking lot, a new southwest entrance and the elevators and stairs on the east and west sides.

“We’ve put together a package that we can afford of about $4.8 million” for repairs, Kennedy said. “There’s the possibility of about $5 million more for amenities, from the southwest entrance to the elevators and the bridge coming across from the parking lot. That’s where we’ll have to start looking to see where the funding comes from to be able to afford the Phase II items.”

All of the repairs will cost about $15 million. CTA has estimated that the county’s insurance carrier will pay for about $8 million of the work, although no official figures have been released. Officials said the insurance company will only pay for repairs and not enhancements to the building.

Earlier this week, the Montana High School Association decided to move the all-class state wrestling tournament from MetraPark to three cities around the state, but the loss of that event hasn’t slowed the planning process.

“That caused some disappointment but hasn’t derailed the process,” Kennedy said. “We’re going to push on with these projects.”

While officials hope to finalize the designs soon and begin coordinating with contractors to start the repairs, an exact timeline has not yet been set.

Next week, the commissioners plan to further discuss the plans with the advisory board and architects in hopes of finalizing the decisions.

Architects working on plans to repair the Rimrock Auto Arena at MetraPark presented county officials and the MetraPark advisory board on Thursday with an updated design proposal that features more bathrooms, two new elevators, a more open walkway and ticketing area on the concourse level and plenty of new windows.

It was the second time this month that architects from CTA Architects Engineers and Populous, a national design firm out of Kansas City, Mo., brought designs to Yellowstone County Commissioners and the advisory board. Thursday’s presentations, one in the morning and one in the afternoon, showed a tweaked design from a Sept. 8 meeting.

“We want to not only bring this building back to what it was but maybe to what it could be,” said Brad Clark, with Populous.

The arena was severely damaged by a June 20 tornado.

Clark laid out previous proposed changes to the arena, including consolidating the main doors at the building’s north face as part of a more welcoming entrance with large glass windows and doors, as well as a few new tweaks.

Those changes included four additions to each corner of the entryway level for bathrooms, a more open walkway and turnstile area with concession areas and a translucent material for part of the ceiling on the lower-level walkways that would allow natural light in during the day and give the arena more light outside at night.

“I think the changes are good,” said County Commissioner Bill Kennedy, who took in the day’s first presentation. “They’ve shored it up so it fits in with other parts of the campus.”

Clark said Populous and CTA looked at other buildings at MetraPark, using things like the two small towers at the Expo Center and the design of the Grandstand for inspiration.

The designs showed about 70 new toilets and urinals, with about two-thirds of them in women’s restrooms. They also included plans for two new sets of stairs and elevators on the east and west sides of the building and better handicapped access.

“It’s exciting, the progress we made today,” said Bill Dutcher, MetraPark’s general manager.

As a result of the morning meeting with the commissioners, the project’s needs and wants were split into two phases. The first phase deals with essential parts of the repair, the ones that can be afforded in the immediate future and some of the wants that have risen to the forefront in public opinion, like an improved sound system.

The second phase includes projects the county hopes to implement down the road but can’t do without more money, such as a bridge from the upper parking lot, a new southwest entrance and the elevators and stairs on the east and west sides.

“We’ve put together a package that we can afford of about $4.8 million” for repairs, Kennedy said. “There’s the possibility of about $5 million more for amenities, from the southwest entrance to the elevators and the bridge coming across from the parking lot. That’s where we’ll have to start looking to see where the funding comes from to be able to afford the Phase II items.”

All of the repairs will cost about $15 million. CTA has estimated that the county’s insurance carrier will pay for about $8 million of the work, although no official figures have been released.

Officials said the insurance company will pay only for repairs and not for enhancements to the building.

Earlier this week, the Montana High School Association decided to move the all-class state wrestling tournament from MetraPark to three cities around the state, but the loss of that event hasn’t slowed the planning process.

“That caused some disappointment but hasn’t derailed the process,” Kennedy said. “We’re going to push on with these projects.”

While officials hope to finalize the designs soon and begin coordinating with contractors to start the repairs, a timeline has not yet been set.

Next week, the commissioners plan to further discuss the plans with the advisory board and architects in hopes of finalizing the decisions.

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