The Great Bend City Council wants to do what it can to separate the city-owned Events Center and the neighboring Parkside Hotel and Convention Center. To this end, the council Monday night authorized the removal of a covered walkway connecting the two buildings.
“Anything we can do to distance ourselves from that hotel will improve our image,” Councilman Dana Dawson said.
Approved was a bid for $12,900 from Brentwood Builders of Great Bend to tear down the cover over the sidewalk/driveway. Included in the bid is work to return the eastern Events Center wall back to a flat surface and remove the door.
This would return the building to its original appearance, City Administrator Howard Partington said. The portico was added after the complex was built.
Down the road, the council may consider remodeling the area that served as the entry from the passageway. But, Partington said that would cost about $57,000 and would take some more consideration.
At the Oct. 1 City Council meeting, council members asked that staff get a cost figure from Brentwood Builders for the removal. This is in addition to the rest of the nearly $300,000 center renovation project which is already underway.
Other changes include:
• The existing canopy and supporting columns has been removed.
It is being replaced by a 34-by-60-foot canopy covering 2,000 square feet with a 14-foot clearance. Along with this, there will be an 18-by-80-foot plaza area in front of the center.
• About 8,500 square feet of the southeast quarter of the parking lot will be removed and replaced. This will be somewhat sloped and done to make the building more handicapped accessible and improve rainwater drainage.
• There will be a repair of the external surfacing, or plaster that covers the building’s facade. This could incorporate a sample of a new color scheme that may eventually be used on the entire center.
The council has the ultimate say in any color changes.
• Some of the front doors will be replaced with wider, 42-inch doors. There will also be an automatic door opener installed.
The interior doors that help created the entrance vestibule will remain in place.
• An ice and snow melting system under the canopy will be installed (this is purpose for the $2,200 alternate bid listed above).
• A ramp for handicapped patrons will be added.
• Variable LED lighting under the canopy will be installed.
Formerly known as the Highland Hotel, the Parkside has a sign posted indicating it is closed for renovations. It originally had 174 rooms and was started in 1962. The center and the office complex behind it (which is also now owned by the city) were built in the 1980s.
In June 2011, the council approved utilizing $500,000 donated by an anonymous group of local residents to purchase the convention center.