Wednesday, May 22, 2013
AUGUSTA — Mike Hutchins listened intently as Bill Rogers described how ski racers enter and exit the large open “stadium” area at Bond Brook Recreation Area.
Dr. William Rogers, left, leads University of Maine at Augusta architecture students down a trail Thursday at the Bond Brook Recreation Area in Augusta. The students toured the trails for skiers, hikers and bikers to design a lodge proposal.
Staff photo by Andy Molloy
University of Maine at Augusta architecture students examine the terrain Thursday for a proposed lodge at the Bond Brook Recreation Area in Augusta. The students toured the trails and site of the proposed hut for skiers, hikers and bikers to come up with a design proposal.
Staff photo by Andy Molloy
Bond Brook Recreation Area is a 17-mile trail system for hikers, mountain bikers, cross-country skiers, snowshoers, bird-watchers, trail runners and other non-motorized users on about 260 acres of city-owned land “in the heart of Augusta,” according to Augusta Trails organizers.
It is between Bond Brook and the Augusta State Airport. The recreation area is free and open to the public, and is accessible through the back of Mount Hope Cemetery, next to the airport, on Winthrop Street.
Ways to donate to the recent lodge effort include: Call or write Mike Seitzinger to discuss a pledge, at 622-7495, P.O. Box 817, Augusta, ME., 04332-0817; or fill out a pledge form or check and mail to Augusta Trails at that same address.
He hand-sketched the layout of the land on a pad of paper and later asked questions about how the site will be used.
“As he’s talking, I’m putting his words into pictures,” said Hutchins, a second year architecture student at the University of Maine at Augusta.
Hutchins was one of dozens of UMA architecture students roaming the stadium area on Thursday, the focal point of the roughly 260-acre forested trail system on city-owned land between Bond Brook and the Augusta State Airport. The students were briefed on the many ways organizers see using a multi-use lodge they propose for the site by Rogers, a local doctor, International Skiing Federation official, and guiding force behind the creation, over the last several years, of the Bond Brook Recreation Area.
Students’ task: Design the lodge and provide drawings and a three-dimensional model of it, with their work to be critiqued by both their college professors and organizers of the trail system — who are in essence the clients on the lodge project.
Oh, and do it in just over a week.
“At the end of that, we hope to have a project that works,” said Amy Hinkley, an assistant architecture professor at UMA. “This is very much the beginning of the process, much quicker than normal. We don’t expect them to have completed construction drawings or anything. It’s the start. It’s the sparks, the initial solutions, we’re looking for.”
Shannon Gebo, a fourth-year UMA architecture student, said visiting the site and learning how it will be used is critical.
“We can look at trail maps all day, but without coming out and walking the site, we wouldn’t understand things like how the sunlight moves through the land,” Gebo said.
Proponents of building a lodge at the site said it could serve as a warming hut and base lodge for both recreational and racing cross-country skiers in the winter, a base of operations for bicyclists, hikers and other trail users year round, and offices and meeting space for nonprofit group Augusta Trails, which oversees the trail system, and other users.
When the lodge actually gets built is largely dependent on an ongoing fundraising campaign for the lodge and trail system, Rogers said.
Mike Seitzinger, an Augusta attorney and president of Augusta Trails, said fundraising for the first phase of the trails project, including construction of a new access road into the stadium which will eventually connect to Bond Brook Road, has so far brought in about $425,000 toward their goal of $500,000.
Seitzinger said they don’t yet have an estimate of how much the lodge, part of the planned second phase of the project, will cost. He said they’ll use the initial designs for the lodge to get cost estimates from experts.
The architecture students won’t be given a budget for their design proposals. Hinkley said most aren’t at the point in their educations yet where they could be expected to estimate the cost of the materials and time involved in building their designs. But she said the students are expected to propose sustainable, economical designs that would not be difficult or expensive for the nonprofit lodge owners to maintain.
Andy Shultz, landowner outreach forester with the Maine Forest Service and member of local forestland conservation proponent and project partner Kennebec Woodland Partnership, said part of that sought-after sustainability could include using wood from the many trees on the site to build much of the lodge.
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