Reaching for the skyConstruction of the new Central Park band shell has reached the dramatic stage, with the unique roof line soaring at the top of the structure.
By: Ruth Nerhaugen, The Republican Eagle
Construction of the new Central Park band shell has reached the dramatic stage, with the unique roof line soaring at the top of the structure.
"The winter was long and not conducive to getting as much done as we'd hoped would get done," construction manager Rick Moskwa said, "but we're progressing. Barring any unforseen problems, we're on schedule."
The facility, financed by the Jones Family Foundation, is scheduled to open with music and ceremony on the Fourth of July. Contractor is Red Wing Construction Co.
The band shell was designed by Bentz, Thompson and Reitow, the firm that also designed the Lake Harriet Bandshell in Minneapolis. The design was chosen to be compatible with the surrounding architecture in the historic mall district.
"The footprint is similar to the old bandstand, but all on one level," commented Brian Peterson, city planning director.
Designed to meet the technological needs of today's entertainers, the band shell stands about 22 feet high at its tallest point, and is about 50 feet across. The stage is 30 to 40 feet deep - big enough to accommodate the Sheldon Theatre Brass Band.
The facility will be completely accessible.
On each side is a semi-circular tower that can be used for storage, costume racks and egress. The towers create wings for theatrical performances.
The back wall will be glass, and the stage concrete. Interior walls will be wood with baffle boards to improve acoustics.
Limestone is used on the back and side structures.
"The articulated roof is very carefully designed for good acoustics, both for the audience and also, just as important, for the musicians to hear themselves," Peterson said.
Central Park has been a gathering spot for community presentations since the city acquired it in 1871. The balustrade on the south end across from the Goodhue County Government Center was built around 1900, and the original band shell was constructed in 1932.
The City Band used to present concerts there, but today's performers have new requirements, local officials said.
They'll be able to bring their own light and sound equipment for concerts and stage shows. The band shell will have general lighting, and conduit will be run into the park for sound equipment.
The entire park is getting a facelift, city officials noted.
The city budgeted $150,000 for park improvements such as water, sewer and electrical service, along with new sidewalks and irrigation.
That work is being done by public works crews, Moskwa said. "Sod is the last thing. We hope it can be done by July 4."
Plans for Independence Day include a concert spotlighting blues and country artists, local actors and the Sheldon Brass Band.
Local groups including the Red Wing Arts Association propose outdoor concerts at the band shell on Wednesday nights for the remainder of July and also through August.