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Spokane, Washington  Est. May 19, 1883
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U.S. Pavilion designers get extra month, $2.5 million to deliver heavily scrutinized plan

File - The US Pavilion in Spokane’s River Front Park. (Dan Pelle / The Spokesman-Review)
File - The US Pavilion in Spokane’s River Front Park. (Dan Pelle / The Spokesman-Review)

Designers of the new U.S. Pavilion in Riverfront Park will have another month and an extra $2.5 million to develop a plan for the heavily scrutinized centerpiece of the landmark’s redesign.

The Spokane Park Board voted 8-1 on Thursday to give the design team until October to present its final plan for the attraction and divert expected interest revenue from the $64.3 million bond into the project. The extension is not expected to delay the opening of the new Pavilion, tentatively scheduled for early 2019.

Ted McGregor, head of the Park Board committee overseeing the redevelopment of Riverfront Park, acknowledged planners had reallocated some of the money originally intended for the park’s signature attraction. Infusing the additional interest earnings back into the Pavilion would help alleviate concern that attention – and dollars – had shifted elsewhere in the park, he said.

“We asked the project team and staff to sharpen their pencils,” said McGregor, who also publishes the Inlander, calling the reallotment of money a way “not only to keep faith with the public on what we set out to do, but also to bring a little bit more ‘wow’ to the Pavilion.”

Initial plans for the new Pavilion did not include a permanent, full covering for the structure. That prompted concern from some city lawmakers and former Park Board members, who said a covered pavilion was part of a pitch to voters, who overwhelmingly approved the bond in November 2014.

City Council President Ben Stuckart had asked for an additional period to allow the Park Board to explain the project’s finances. Park planners and board members say adding a permanent cover that mimicked the appearance of the Pavilion during the ’74 World’s Fair would cost at least $4.5 million, citing an estimate from the construction and design firms handling the Pavilion renovation, and it’s unclear if the existing netting could safely hold a cover.

A listing of potential uses for the additional funds, which are based on estimates of interest earnings on the bond’s maturity, included an additional $225,000 for “enhanced shade and shelter” within the structure. The design team estimates an elevated platform clutching the mast in the middle of the Pavilion floor would cost close to $1 million of the additional funds.

Clancy Welsh, president of Garco Construction – one of the firms guiding the Pavilion redesign – said those numbers were placeholders and subject to change when the full team presents its final design for Park Board approval, now scheduled for Oct. 12.

Mike Fagan, the City Council’s representative on the Park Board, cast the lone vote against the extension and additional contract money for the Pavilion.

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