Pre-construction work for a $60 million redevelopment at the shared campus of the Aspen Music Festival and School (AMFS) and the Aspen County Day School has begun, with full-scale construction scheduled to get underway soon after music students leave town in August.
As soon as this year’s classical music festival and school session wraps up, on Aug. 19, construction takes over for the Harry Teague-designed makeover.
“On August 20 the trucks come and take the pianos away and then on August 21st we start,” said AMFS President and CEO Alan Fletcher. “And thus we will blitz.”
A new bridge entrance to the campus — which can hold construction trucks — was added this summer, in preparation for the project’s busy late summer and fall.
By 2015, when the redevelopment is slated to finish, the square footage of buildings on the campus will have nearly doubled from its current 50,000 square feet. The project includes new rehearsal halls, practice rooms, administration buildings and a cafeteria, all linked by modern colonnades.
The rustic 23-acre campus of wooden buildings, wooded paths and ponds along Castle Creek is shared between the prestigious summer music school and the private primary school. Country Day is moving its 200 students to the Aspen Meadows this fall for the school year, to allow for construction to take place in a timely manner.
Unlike most construction projects in the mountains, this one is taking the summers off — so as not to disrupt the June-to-August music festival season.
By next summer, two of three new orchestra halls on the campus will be ready for use. One of them is large enough for the biggest of AMFS orchestras to practice together on the campus for the first time, and will double as a gymnasium for Country Day.
The need for improvements at the campus has been increasingly evident in recent years. One of the existing buildings was condemned last year, because of mold and poor structuring, and has since been torn down.
Teague, the architect whose credits also include the Benedict Music Tent, Harris Hall and the Aspen Center for Physics, spent time sketching on the campus through all four seasons of the year, Fletcher explained.
As a result, the blue glass and translucent roofing of the new buildings are intended to complement the campus’ natural surroundings.
“The contours of the buildings mirror the land forms around campus,” Fletcher said.
The plan, approved by the Pitkin County commissioners in 2008, also includes the removal of more than 400 trees that will be replaced with newly-planted ones after construction.
The campus is named after Matthew Bucksbaum, the part-time Aspenite and shopping mall developer, who donated $25 million toward the redevelopment.