May /June 2017
Project Status, Funding Plan, and
 Interpretive Exhibit Designs Highlight
June 1 Community Meeting

As the U.S. Forest Service works to complete the Environmental Assessment process for the new Pikes Peak Summit Complex, the project design team is continuing with refinements to the interpretive displays for inside and outside the new visitor center structure. In addition, Benefactor Group, the fundraising consultants, have completed the Capital Fundraising Campaign Feasibility Study for the project. The public is invited to attend a community meeting to hear the latest about the Pikes Peak Summit Complex project schedule, fundraising campaign, to view design refinements of interior and exterior interpretive designs, and to hear about the donor wall early concepts.

REMINDER The community meeting takes place:
Time: 5:30 - 7 p.m. 
Presentation at 6 p.m.
Date: Thursday, June 1, 2017
Location: Ivywild School, 
"Gymnasium," 1604 S. Cascade Avenue

Interpretive Exhibits Provide 
Integrated, Holistic Pikes Peak Experience
Pikes Peak is one of the few places in the world where all people - young and old - can easily access and experience the summit of a 14,000-foot peak. The new summit complex will provide an integrated, holistic experience of Pikes Peak, encompassing both indoor and outdoor interpretation. No matter age or cultural background, visitors will be able to engage with the geological and cultural history of the region, understand the importance of the peak today, and immerse themselves in an engaging, meaningful exhibit experience.

The internationally recognized museum planning and design firm of Gallagher & Associates (G&A) is an integral part of the design team working to create an experience that is succinct, fun and engaging. Designers from G&A have been busy this year creating interpretive displays to provide strong pre- and post-visit components to extend the experience and connection to the visitor center site. "Our goal," said G&A Senior Associate Greg Matty, "is to create an experience where visitors have a sense of access and ownership that fosters an appreciation for the Pikes Peak region."

In addition to interpretive threads created to inspire visitors and add a sense of drama by playing off the breathtaking panoramic view, G&A recognizes that part of their responsibility is to capitalize on the natural educational opportunities the summit and the site's related research facilities offer. A key objective of the educational displays is to assure that interpretation appears seamlessly within the landscape, as well as throughout the visitor center and the public spaces of the summit buildings. "The idea is that visitors should embark on a journey structured around the history, individuals and events that have shaped this landmark," said Matty. " Elements inside and out will seek to engage visitors of all ages and create opportunities to have fun while learning."
Altitude Limits Time on the Peak
Proposed Interior Interpretive Exhibit Design

With the lack of oxygen at 14,000 feet, the visitor experience at the summit of Pikes Peak is limited by time. Most visitors arriving at the peak typically seek out the restrooms, gift shop, and the "World Famous Pikes Peak Donuts." If the weather is cooperating, time is also needed for those who want to look around at the views and interpretive displays outside the building facility.

The 1998 Longwoods Travel USA Study prepared for the Colorado Tourism Office identified what the Pikes Peak visitors indicate they want:
  • Visitor facilities (restrooms, refreshments, souvenirs, etc.)
  • Orientation to the vista
  • Basic information and orientation to the peak
  • The cause for being light-headed (lack of oxygen)
  • Other opportunities (watchable wildlife, hiking, etc.)
Personalized Peak Experiences

Proposed Interior Interpretive Exhibit Design
Each of the interpretive exhibits are being designed to provide visitors an educational experience of Pikes Peak whether inside or outside of the visitor center building. Visitors can explore the summit's outdoor interpretive features as well as stroll the ADA-accessible trails and enjoy the breath-taking vistas. On the roof terrace and inside the lobby, rail panels will provide general information about the mountain's geology, history and current use.

A computer application (app) is under development by the project team to provide information before visitors arrive at the summit. The app will enhance the overall visit to the peak with a guided experience, whether inside the visitor center building or outside on the summit grounds, focused on creating moments visitors can personalize.
Materials, Systems Selected to Withstand Harsh Environment 
Climates are harsh at 14,000 feet, so materials selected for the outdoor exhibits will need to withstand extreme cold and hot weather, ultraviolet sun rays, as well as high winds and rain that create a sandblasting effect. High quality embedded metal graphics are being tested by the design team for durability.

Within the building, the heating, ventilation and air conditioning (HVAC) system needs special consideration and careful design to hold up for longevity, and theatre equipment needs to meet specified altitude and temperature requirements.

Another challenge of construction is that all interior and exterior exhibits planned for the new visitor center will be fabricated at local shops, not on the summit itself. Once all designs, plans and materials are approved and exhibits are mocked up, they will be broken down and transported to the top of Pikes Peak for final installation.

CLICK HERE to view proposed exterior exhibit elements. 
Pikes Peak Summit Complex Fundraising 

The Pikes Peak Summit Complex project represents an exciting time in the history of this historic mountain. Anticipating more than 600,000 visitors this year alone, we are committed to providing an experience that is educational, breathtaking and inspiring. As the project nears completion of the design phase, we are confident the new visitor center will contribute to a great visitor experience at the summit with a facility of which everyone will be proud.
"Every aspect of the Pikes Peak Summit Complex project is being undertaken with great care, thought and expertise,"  says Jack Glavan, Manager of Pikes Peak - America's Mountain. "However, constructing a visitor complex atop a 14,115 foot mountain that will provide a great summit experience for fifty years and longer is no simple task, so fundraising is a critical component.  The project team is committed to assuring the new structure not only maximizes the visitor experience, but also does so in the most environmentally sustainable way possible."

To achieve these goals, the cost projection to build the new summit visitor center is estimated between $40 and $50 million, some of which has already been secured. Pikes Peak - America's Mountain has contracted with Benefactor Group, a fundraising company based in Columbus, Ohio, to provide fundraising strategy. Details of the recently completed Capital Fundraising Campaign Feasibility Study will be presented during the June 1 community meeting.
Pikes Peak - America's Mountain is a new full-color mini coffee table book selling for $12.99 plus tax. The book is available at Pikes Peak Summit House, Glen Cove and Crystal Reservoir gift shops, or by calling the Aramark local office at 719-473-0208 to order. Proceeds go to building a new Summit House. Be among the first to proudly display this tribute to America's Mountain in your home or give as a gift to family and friends. 
Click here to view Pikes Peak
Summit House Complex PSA.
Brian Calhoun/RTA Architects 
Talks about the Summit Project

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Design Timeline

Phase 1 - Programming and Development of Design Concepts - Fall 2015

Phase 2 - Concept Review and Selection - January 2016

Phase 3 - Plan Development and Construction Documents - 2017

Phase 4 - Solicitation of Construction Management/General Contractor - Late Fall 2015 (GE Johnson selected)

Phase 5 - Off-site Fabrication - Early 2018/ On-site Construction Start - Mid-2018
Environmental Assessment Status

The City of Colorado Springs, Pikes Peak - America's Mountain (PPAM), in partnership with Colorado Springs Utilities (CSU) and U.S. Army Research Institute of Environmental Medicine (U.S. Army), selected a preferred design for the new Pikes Peak Summit Complex located in the Pike National Forest in El Paso County, Colorado. The U.S. Forest Service (Forest Service), Pikes Peak Ranger District, carrying forward the preferred design in the preparation of an Environmental Assessment (EA) to consider and disclose the environmental effects of redesigning and constructing the Pikes Peak Summit Complex. The Forest Service anticipates the release of the EA and Draft Finding of No Significant Impact (FONSI) in late summer 2017 for public review and comment.
Company Spotlight 
Gallagher & Associates
Interpretive / Exhibit Design
Gallagher & Associates (G&A) is an internationally recognized museum planning and design firm with offices in Washington, D.C., San Francisco, New York, and Singapore. The company's experience ranges from social and cultural history to natural science and the arts. G&A is well versed in creating Visitor Experience Plans for projects of varied complexity. Their work is extremely diverse and often flows from the creation of an interpretive and economic master plan, to full service renovation and finally, to complete ground up building projects. They guide their clients in the initial visioning of projects and also assist in operations, strategic, and lifecycle planning.

Working with clients such as the federal government, the Smithsonian Institute and the National Park Service has given G&A the discipline to manage large project budgets and to take full responsibility for designing to budget and to the complete satisfaction of their clients. The successes of the past are a foundation of knowledge and experience they brought to the Pikes Peak area. "We take a long view and most importantly, we seek to understand the potential visitorship and audience for a particular project that is crucial to its success or failure," said Matty. "This industry is a lifelong passion for us and our reputation and relationship with our clients is the single, most important focus of our work."

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