Colorado Springs leaders are asking citizens for contributions to raise $7 million in funding for the Pikes Peak Summit Complex.
Mayor John Suthers kicked off a community campaign called “My Mountain” on July 30 to raise the funds, which will be used to complete items such as interactive exhibits in the new summit house.
Suthers was the first to give to the campaign by donating his loose change at Ent Credit Union’s University Service Center, according to a release from the city. Ent is supporting the campaign by facilitating cash donations.
“Our city’s past, present and future is connected to Pikes Peak,” Suthers said. “The sense of pride and ownership of this mountain that’s felt by members of our community is and always has been palpable, and now our generation has a chance to contribute to this incredible legacy.
“The ‘My Mountain’ campaign is an exciting opportunity for everyone who has ever felt a connection to Pikes Peak to rally together and offer their support to preserve and protect this treasured destination.”
The $60 million project is being financed by funding from Pikes Peak – America’s Mountain, an enterprise of the city that generates revenue through toll fees and concession sales, and revenue bonds taken by Pikes Peak.
A $15 million fundraising goal from public and private donations has always been part of the project’s budget. After several large donations, about $7 million remains to be raised. No general fund tax dollars will be used.
A 38,000-square-foot glass, concrete and steel visitor center is the centerpiece of the summit complex, which also includes a new high-altitude research laboratory — a separate project that is being funded and constructed by the Army.
The visitor center replaces the archaic and difficult-to-maintain summit house that dates from the 1960s. It will feature an immersive visitor experience, spectacular views and multimedia exhibits focused on the history, significance and geology of Pikes Peak.
Interpretive outdoor exhibits are also being built along the accessible, elevated pathway, which was designed to help protect the summit’s fragile tundra. Other upgrades include an improved kitchen, dining facilities, retail space and expanded restroom facilities.
The project, which is on track for completion by fall 2020, is a collaboration by the U.S. Forest Service, National Park Service, State Historic Preservation Office, tribal representatives and the summit’s five major permit holders — the city of Colorado Springs, Pikes Peak – America’s Mountain, The Broadmoor’s Pikes Peak Cog Railway, the U.S. Army High-Altitude Research Laboratory and Colorado Springs Utilities.
It is expected to host nearly 750,000 visitors and generate roughly $30 million each year.
GE Johnson Construction Co., general contractor for the project, and around 40 subcontractors are working on the project.
Local firm RTA Architects and GWWO Architects of Baltimore, a nationally recognized expert in designing national park visitor centers, partnered on the design, which will achieve LEED Silver certification, a globally recognized symbol of sustainability achievement, and meet the latest ADA standards.
The design also strives to meet The Living Building Challenge, a two-year certification process, as a highly sustainable, zero-energy building. Sustainable design aspects include energy, materials, resilience, site ecology, site water, and water and wastewater.
Currently, no other federal buildings are LBC-certified, and this will be the most sustainable building ever constructed at 14,000 feet.
Hundreds of Colorado Springs residents helped the architects to shape the final design by attending workshops from 2015-17.
Ent is supporting the “My Mountain” campaign by facilitating physical cash donations at its 24 southern Colorado locations and via phone at (719) 574-1100 or 800-525-6923 through the end of the year.
“People who live in the shadow of Pikes Peak know what a big role it plays in our history, our identity and our economy,” Matt Gendron, Ent Credit Union Chief Engagement officer, stated in the release. “And it’s why Ent is so proud to serve as a donation site … and to help support a mountain of change.”
A specially crafted donation box by Glassical Designs is located at Ent’s University Service Center, across from University Village on the UCCS campus.