MIDDLEBURY, Vt.-Renovations and additions to the Neil Starr Ski Lodge at the Middlebury College Snow Bowl in Hancock are underway. Work began in mid-May and will be finished by Dec. 10, the start of the new ski season at the Snow Bowl. While maintaining the unique character of the location, the changes will provide more space and improved customer service. Middlebury-based Bread Loaf Construction is conducting the work on the approximately $2.25 million project. When the project is complete, the lodge will have expanded by roughly 3,300 square feet, from about 7,500 to more than 10,800 square feet.
The Starr Ski Lodge, also known as the Starr Shelter, was built in 1962. Middlebury College Snow Bowl Manager Peter Mackey said there have been few improvements and renovations since then. "We are really looking forward to the new season. People are going to be excited this winter when they see the lodge," said Mackey.
According to Middlebury College Associate Vice President for College Advancement Ann Crumb, an anonymous benefactor gave a donation to the College for the specific purpose of renovating Starr Shelter. This gift, which is the primary donation, prompted other alumni and friends of the College to make contributions toward the project as well. "Although the work has started, we are still actively trying to raise funds to cover the construction costs," said Crumb. "The renovations are a major improvement to Starr Shelter, which is really an asset to the local community as well as the College."
The primary change will be an increase in the building's space that allows for the addition of 75 seats, bringing the total to approximately 300. Most of the expansion will take place on the first floor, in the area now devoted to the deck. A new deck area will extend further to the south. A new upper-level deck will relieve crowding in the second-floor dining area on busy weekends and during races and other major events. Two new exterior stairways will connect the upper deck to the lower deck.
Improvements will take place throughout the lodge, including the cafeteria, dining room, ski shop and rest rooms. The dining room fireplace will be operable once again.
Staff spaces, including the ticket counter, work room and ski school desk, will also be expanded. Full-length glass windows will provide the new race-timing room with a clear view of the base of the race hill on the Allen Trail, and will accommodate four to five people with space for timing equipment and computer monitors.
In the cafeteria, additional storage space and refrigeration will reduce the number of daily food deliveries, and enhance the ability of the College's dining services staff to handle special events. The cafeteria's new layout will ease congestion during the busiest periods.
The renovations will include an enlarged ski shop and a new shop window that will make the location more easily identifiable to customers. A new outdoor ticket sales window will reduce lines at the inside ticket counter. The project also includes general upgrades to the mechanical, plumbing, electrical, wastewater and sewer systems, as well as a new roof and fresh paint.
Middlebury College Snow Bowl
Located in Vermont's Green Mountains, the Middlebury College Snow Bowl is 15 miles from the main campus. The Snow Bowl, which is the third oldest ski area in Vermont, has a rich skiing tradition that dates back to 1934 when the first trails were established. The Middlebury College alpine ski team trains and competes at the Bowl, which has always been owned and operated by the College. Offering trails that range from beginner to advanced, the Snow Bowl is open to the public and, according to the Vermont Ski Areas Association's Web site, provides a "friendly, family atmosphere" for skiing and boarding. It is centrally located in Vermont on Route 125, midway between Route 7 to the west and Route 100 to the east. More information about the Bowl is available on the Middlebury College Web site at www.middlebury.edu/campuslife/snowbowl.
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