ROYAL GORGE BRIDGE & PARK NAMES DESIGN FIRM TO REBUILD PARK
Royal Gorge Bridge and Park, showcasing one of the world’s highest suspension bridges, announced The Beck Group, a national and international design and construction firm for the rebuilding of the park after the devastating fire on June 11, 2013, which destroyed most of the 84-year-old park, considered an icon in Colorado tourism.
The firm plans to capitalize on the best views of the park according to Jon Mindrup, Associate Principal. The firm has several offices across the U.S. including Denver, Colo., with headquarters in Dallas, Texas.
The designs and planning are moving along fairly quickly for a project of this magnitude, said Mike Bandera, Royal Gorge Bridge and Park’s Vice-President and General Manager. Bandera stated “Beck was chosen based on overall experience, price, quality and most importantly in meeting deadlines.”
Beck was founded in 1912, and has been named in the top 100 firms for design and build by Engineering News-Record. Some of the notable Colorado projects include the Wayne N. Aspinall Federal Building and U.S. Courthouse, Grand Junction, Southlands Lifestyle Center, Aurora, Hollywood Theaters Southglenn, Centennial, The Landmark in Greenwood Village; Vail Valley Medical Center, Vail, and University Station, Denver, according to Regional Director in the Denver office, Frank Eppink.
Mindrup, also the architectural project leader said his first impression of the bridge and park was “heartbreaking to see the fire damage, but it is an amazing, beautiful view of the Royal Gorge. We are excited about the potential of what we can do.
“There is a two-fold vision: Make it about the Royal Gorge, not about the buildings. And, create a design consistent with the regional Colorado aesthetic features. We intend to capitalize on the best views, best access, and to cater to families and technology savvy guests that will be coming to the park.”
It is reasonable to assume the park will be functional by summer 2014 said Mindrup. “Everybody desires to have it up and running as soon as possible, we understand that,” he said.
Park officials hope to have construction begin as early as October. The Royal Gorge Bridge coming through the fire relatively unscathed will remain closed to the public indefinitely as the park is presently a hard hat area with demolition and clean-up taking place. With plans to begin reconstruction as soon as possible it may remain inaccessible for a while according to Bandera.
First round master plan designs will be presented to Park and City of Canon City officials by the end of August for discussion and approval. The City of Canon City is the owner of the 360-acre tourist attraction, and the Royal Gorge Bridge Company of Colorado has held the lease contracts since 1947.