The director of the Pack Square Park Conservancy said the board on Wednesday wrestled with questions concerning the park’s proposed $2.46 million pavilion.
Gary Giniat said the conservancy, which is overseeing the construction of the new $20 million park, discussed whether or not the proposed pavilion should be built for LEED certification, and whether going for the certification would add to construction costs. The board also wants to know how much money could be saved in energy expenses over the life of the building if it was LEED certified.
LEED is an acronym for Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design. It’s a ratings system developed by the U.S. Green Building Council to encourage architects, engineers, developers, builders and governmental agencies to build environmentally friendly buildings. Certification can be attained at four different levels which are determined by a point system.
The board talked about timing the start of construction so that it wouldn’t extend the disruption in the heart of downtown that’s dragged on since the conservancy broke ground on the project in 2005.
“We don’t want to open the park, then close it six months later” for pavilion construction, Giniat said.
A board committee is working on the questions and will report back during the conservancy’s June meeting.
The decisions will guide the course of one of the park’s most significant features. In December, the conservancy expressed doubt about proceeding with its construction, citing concern about securing funding for the building during a slumping economy and delays in finalizing a construction contract. The board had expected pavilion construction to start last year, about the time it awarded a $7.5 million contract for the bulk of remaining park construction. The park is being built with a combination of taxpayers’ money and private donations.
In January, the board voted to move ahead with building the structure, envisioned as a key public space in the high-profile park. The 4,200-square-foot building would sit at the center of northern border of the 6.5-acre park, which extends from the steps of Asheville’s City Hall and the Buncombe County Courthouse west to Pack Square. Planned design features include geothermal heating, public restrooms, a restaurant and office space for the conservancy. Construction is expected to take 10 months.
Giniat said the conservancy also talked about pursuing stimulus money to help fund the pavilion’s construction.
— Jason Sandford, multimedia editor