“Are you getting dizzy?”
Rob Howard, an architect with Pope Architects, asked the Woodbury City Council that question Wednesday night as he showed city officials an impressive interactive three-dimensional rendering of what the new field house and entryway at the Bielenberg Sports Center would look like.
The virtual walkthrough was the latest update for the council as the city hones plans for the $15.5 million project, which will likely break ground next spring. (The 3D rendering wasn’t available.)
Much of the council discussion centered on the link between the existing rink facility, which will remain in place, and the new field house that will replace the aging dome.
Plans showed a glass-lined, two-story structure that provides “box-seat” overlook areas of the fields and rinks, a concession area, seating space, meeting rooms and other amenities. There will also be a plaza outside the lobby that would allow for events to be held there, Howard said.
“This is an exciting upgrade to Bielenberg,” Councilman Paul Rebholz said.
But he did question whether some corridors would be wide enough and how foot traffic would flow during big events at Bielenberg.
“Just don’t undersize it,” Rebholz said.
Parks and Recreation Director Bob Klatt said housing concessions and viewing areas on the second floor would leave the lower level more open for participants.
Council members Amy Scoggins and Christopher Burns also had questions about the safety of children around a glass partition separating the second floor from an open area that looks down to the main level.
“My kids and Chris’ kids are good at climbing,” Scoggins said.
The architect said the partition could be made taller, but Howard has a “strong feeling” that the wall should remain clear and open at the top as a way to improve sightlines and connect the facility.
The plans were shown at the Woodbury Community Expo, and there were “nothing but good comments,” Klatt said.
City staff will continue to work with stakeholders as the project moves forward, Klatt said, adding that “budget-wise, it’s feeling really good.”
Staff at Bielenberg is excited about the project, said facility manager Dave Black. “The plans are fabulous.”
When complete, the new facility will be able to house more events than the existing bubble, and will likely draw a broader range of groups to Woodbury, Black said. The city currently turns away “quite a bit of business,” he said.
Mayor Mary Giuliani Stephens said the city will be able to “think outside the bubble” in attracting new user groups.
An open house on the project is slated for May 31 at Bielenberg.