Fianna Dickson

U.S. Pavilion Concept & Design Period FAQ

Fianna Dickson, City of Spokane Parks & Recreation, Communications Manager, 509.625.6297

Friday, July 28, 2017 at 4:24 p.m.

U.S. Pavilion Concept & Design Period FAQ

Updated - 08/30/2017


In 2014, Spokane citizens overwhelmingly approved a $64 million bond to improve and redevelop Riverfront Park. The bond, with continued park funding, will fund five major design elements, including redevelopment of the Pavilion.

What is the latest with concepts for the U.S. Pavilion?

The Pavilion will become a premier gathering place for people of all ages during the day, evening, and throughout the year. Currently, the design-build team is in the schematic design phase. That team is reviewing and considering the Master Plan, conducting research, studying the space and structure of the Pavilion, and evaluating the feasibility of different design approaches. Preliminary Pavilion design concepts and recommendations were presented in mid-July. View preliminary concepts at the U.S. Pavilion redevelopment page.

What is the process for selecting final concepts and what are the next steps?

Based on feedback from the community, Park Board, Design Steering Committee, Parks staff and elected officials, the design-build team is evolving the preliminary concepts. Updated concepts will be presented for feedback in August and September. At the conclusion of this schematic design phase in mid-October, the Park Board could vote to approve the concepts or ask for additional revisions. When the concepts are approved by the Park Board, the design-build team will enter into an agreement to complete the design and construct the Pavilion project.

Who is on the design-build team?

The design-build team includes Garco Construction (general contractor), NAC Architecture (architects), the Berger Partnership (landscape architects) and THEVERYMANY Studio (artist). This team was selected by the Design Steering Committee (community volunteers) and a selection committee comprised of Park Board (also community volunteers) and staff.

What did the Master Plan outline for the Pavilion?

The Master Plan recommends a re-covered and re-lit structure. Conceptual images in this plan showed a variety of ideas—from partial covering to a full cover. The Master Plan also calls for the Pavilion to be a multi-purpose event space, able to host everything from a summer concert series to outdoor movies, art exhibitions, and Hoopfest Center Court. The intent is for this structure to attract people of all ages during the day, evenings, and throughout the year. Other events under consideration include a winter beer/wine festival, a holiday light show and/or winter performing arts. During non-event times, the Pavilion will be an interesting, artistic, and interpretive space to visit.

Does a partial cover meet the outline of the Master Plan?

Yes, a partial cover was one of the options presented in the Master Plan, including renderings.

Why didn’t the design team present a full cover option for the Pavilion?

The Park Board was excited to explore how to make the Pavilion a premier gathering place, including both covered and partially-covered concepts. Once the Park Board and the design-build team began evaluating all of the costs and benefits of the various options, partially covering the Pavilion proved to be the best option for two reasons:

  • The Park Board seeks to balance being a good financial steward of taxpayer money with realizing the vision of the Master Plan. As the Park Board evaluated and researched the options for covering the Pavilion, they realized there is significant unknown risk to provide a full cover. In fact, additional structural forensic studies would be needed to determine what is required for the Pavilion’s existing structure to support a full cover. This study would cost approximately $500,000 and would take one year to complete. Because the original Pavilion was never built to support a cover long-term (it was only intended to be a temporary structure for Expo ’74), the Park Board has been advised that a study is likely to reveal significant repairs needed to the Pavilion structure, and those repairs would come at a cost. As a result, the Park Board came to feel a full cover option presented too much risk for taxpayers.
  • Additionally, a fully covered Pavilion would eliminate a connection to the river. The design-build team proposed a concept for the Pavilion that would elevate visitors high into the Pavilion along the center support structure or mast, that would provide incredible views of downtown and the river gorge.

Why wasn’t a forensics study conducted during the Master Planning Phase?

Conducting a full forensic study before the redevelopment project was approved by voters would have been a costly endeavor for a project with an uncertain future. We anticipated our design-build team for the Pavilion would lead the effort to conduct all necessary studies.

Didn’t the City already conduct a study of the Pavilion?

The City did conduct a study in 2012 to assess if the Pavilion’s existing structure was sound to remain, but it did not study whether the Pavilion would be able to support a full cover long-term. Even new technologies, such as lightweight fabrics, require a full forensics study to examine the impact of weight bearing and wind force. Though the Pavilion was covered in ’74, it was not meant to be covered long-term. There are also known wind tunnel issues with the original design when it’s fully covered.

What type of partial covering is the design team recommending?

The design-build team is proposing partial shade/rain cover designs that will provide shelter for varied activities and programing. The shade/shelter covers are in sections and may be retractable, allowing flexibility for the space’s use and the ability to move them for different events or weather conditions. They could provide additional surfaces to reflect light and to enhance the lighting of the cable net.

What are the other conceptual elements being considered for the Pavilion?

Concepts focus on four key elements—connection to the river, illumination, elevation, and shade. They proposed a concept of elevating visitors high into the Pavilion along the mast to access the incredible views of downtown and the river gorge. A full cover would obscure these views. Lighting is a primary focus, creating a lantern for the community through illumination. The team also envisions a provocative and interesting amphitheater and landscaped bowl that allows visitors to climb or walk up to the eastern rim of the Pavilion concrete ring and serve as a seating area for shows and events that will happen below. Strategically placed canopies will offer shade and shelter during these events.

Is the Pavilion not being fully covered because of budget?

If studies were to show the Pavilion can support a full cover, a 30-year warrantied fabric plus is estimated to cost $4.5 million (30% of the construction budget) not including structural retrofits. This is within the budget allocated for the Pavilion. However, the cost to conduct a forensics study to determine if the Pavilion structure can support that cover would be extensive and time-intensive. Additionally, a full cover meets only two of the four key design elements because it would block views of downtown and the river gorge. In light of these facts, the Park Board did not feel it was the best use of taxpayer dollars to spend  $500,000 to conduct a forensics study for a design element that was not recommended by the design team.

How has the budget changed for the Pavilion since the Master Plan was adopted?

Updated 08/30/2017: The Master Plan budget for the Pavilion was 37% ($24 million). For a time, the Pavilion budget became 32% ($21.5 million) because the Park Board moved some funds to the Recreation Rink, South Howard Street Bridge, and the Carrousel to create a greater impact on the South Bank as the downtown gateway. In August 2017, Park Board voted to allocate $2.5M additional bond funds to the Pavilion, restoring the budget to its original $24M. Those funds came from unallocated bond interest and a reduction in staffing fees for the year 2020, anticipating the majority of work being completed by 2019.

We're created an online survey to gather feedback about the preliminary concepts for the U.S. Pavilion. Please click the button below to take the survey.

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