Last week an important document was signed right here in the CSBJ conference room.
The contract turns over responsibility of planning and designing the Mountain Post Historical Center to HB&A, a locally based planning and design company.
HB&A seems to be a pretty good fit to me since one of its architects is a retired colonel and the firm does a lot with military construction nationwide.
This 30,000 square foot building was the brainchild of retired Lt. Gen. Ed Soriano. Maj. Gen. Robert Wilson moved the ball forward and got the community involved two years ago. Maj. Gen. Robert Mixon is on the Mountain Post Historical board.
The board originally consisted of 15 people and has grown to 35 business and community leaders.
The Mountain Post Historical Center will provide housing for artifacts of the 64- year history of Fort Carson. The center will consist of multiple galleries and a visitors’ orientation center as well as museum offices, collection storage and preservation facilities.
The total cost of the building will be between $10 million and $12 million and will be funded by the community through fundraising. When completed, the building will be given to the Army to operate.
The community has already shown its support of what I can only figure is another great example of outreach to our military brethren.
Ann Winslow of Winslow BMW orchestrated a program with the Colorado Springs Car Dealers Association that provides $100 to the Mountain Post Center from every new or used car sold during certain time periods.
The Gazette stepped up to the plate with $50,000 in cash and $50,000 in donated ad space.
There will also be other fundraisers as we get closer to the groundbreaking in spring of 2006, such as a paving program comparable to the World Arena’s. Businesses or individuals will be able to buy paving bricks in different sizes for $500, $1,000 or $1,500. The Mountain Post board is hoping to open the center in 2008.
Colorado State Parks is also getting involved. The land directly west of the center will be a state park. A pedestrian bridge will be built over Highway 115 at Gate One at Fort Carson.
Board member Hal Alguire said the project “will be the front porch to Carson.”
In addition to being the front porch to Carson, I think this will have a huge economic effect on our community. I am not sure how many people have gone through Fort Carson in the past 64 years, but I bet a lot would enjoy coming back to see the artifacts and probably spend a little money at our local hotels and restaurants.
The board members I talked to, Lou Mellini of KILO/ The Eagle, chairman of the board; Alguire of Tetra Tech, co-chairman of the board; and Rob Johnson of PPIR, chairman of the marketing and development committee; were quite passionate about the project, and I can see why.
“When you think of the Air Force Academy, you think of the chapel,” Alguire said. “When this is done, when you think of Carson you will think of this museum.”
Renderings of what the building will look like are not yet available, but I am sure the design will be impressive.
Without community support of this project, there would not be any center. This is a legacy to Fort Carson, not just to a particular unit, but to all of them.
“There is vision and importance to house the artifacts of the 64-year history of Fort Carson,” Mellini said. “Not only will this capture the history for the last 64 years, but it will capture the history happening right now and for future generations.”
The museum is yet another example of how the Colorado Springs community has worked with the military to produce outstanding results.
Lon Matejczyk is publisher of the Colorado Springs Business Journal. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or 329-5202.