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New Minocqua Winter Park Chalet Would Triple In Size

Dean S. Acheson photo

Supporters of Minocqua Winter Park & Nordic Center in Minocqua are hoping a couple of major donors and community support -- along with town board approval -- will spearhead a fundraising effort to replace the aging chalet.

Project manager Melody Hamlin of the Wausau-based Becher Hoppe and Associates engineering and architectural firm spent three hours last Wednesday, May 18th revising floor plans of the proposed two- story chalet with the Lakeland Ski Touring Foundation’s building committee. The new building at 17,000 square feet would more than triple the size of the current structure. As presented, the new chalet would cost at least $2 million, she said. The price would be “turnkey,” including site work, storm water management, utilities and retaining wall. It would not include furnishings such as tables and chairs, kitchen equipment and lockers.

“There’s nothing extravagant here,” she said to the building committee.

Depending on materials and a reduction in building size, those costs could go down substantially. The present 60-year-old chalet would be torn down and the new one built on the footprint, but also expanded to the sides. Building proponents say a new building would help “grow” usage of the popular Nordic ski center, both winter and summer. The facility’s board of directors has been eyeing warm-weather events such as concerts and weddings, as well as making it a hiking and biking destination.

“We are looking at a building that’s potentially could be here 100 years,” said Minocqua Director of Public Works Mark Pertile, who has been assisting the group in their planning. “It’s expensive, but that’s where the fundraising (work) begins. “It’s a big step. It’s (a) huge (undertaking). It’s a big building. We all know there are great opportunities out there for growth.” He noted the phenomenal growth in usage of the Highway 70 West Park Complex, which is in great demand for weddings, receptions and reunions.

The same could happen at Winter Park as a year-round destination, he explained. Construction timeline Hamlin thought it could take up to 16 or 18 months to complete the building, once funding is obtained. However, Pertile said a nine-month construction timeline was possible.

“Contractors would have to use resources necessary to do it in nine months,” he said. That chalet then could be substantially ready for the ski season beginning December 1. Possible, Hamlin replied, but it would add cost to the project.

Both Hamlin and Pertile thought a March 1 construction start would be required. Ski foundation representatives agreed, saying they would sacrifice some March business (end of the ski season) to accomplish the nine-month goal. Hamlin also said the building could be done in phases, to get the most desired portions done first. As outlined, the building’s lower level would have a ski waxing room, locker rooms, rental and ski sales, conference rooms, bathrooms, first aid station, and storage. The upper level would have seating for up to 300 people, ticket office, kitchen, children’s play area, bathrooms and manager’s office. There would be a large deck where bands could set up. The exterior walls facing the hill and pond would have a fair mount of glass. Hamlin will meet with group at a later date with a more refined set of plans, including costs and some options.

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