Feature Article - October 2008
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A Shady Place

Shelters to Suit Your Facility

By Kelli Anderson

Solid Performance

Not to be outdone, however, solid-roof structures certainly have their strong points, not least of which include durability, dramatic and soaring designs and even recent innovations in some steel-roof designs that can further reduce shade temperatures thanks to heat-reflecting properties of specialty paints such as those enjoyed at the recently completed Tumbleweed Park in Chandler, Ariz.

Aside from providing the primary function of shade, however, building materials and designs should fit within their context. The traditional beauty of wood-based structures, for example, can be ideal for sites wanting to evoke warmth, romance or to hearken back to another era.

For some, like the replicated 1911 pavilion recently completed in St. Charles Ill., wood construction is the only option.

"To bring back that historical icon to the community is a wonderful opportunity," said Erika Young, marketing manager with the St. Charles Park District. "Back in the day it was the gem of St. Charles."

The historic structure—a soaring decorative tower attached to an equally ornate rectangular pavilion—is already booked throughout the summer, fall and spring of next year, proving without doubt that its Douglas Fir and post-and-beam construction were well worth the effort—and price tag—to bring the past back to the present.

But history can also be in the making as in the case of the Riverside Park Grand Pavilion constructed in 2002. This large wooden classic gazebo structure with its two adjoining smaller pavilions connected by bridges has been an instant hit for its scenic Vero Beach, Fla., location and is well-suited to the salt-water climate.

"It's definitely been great for the community and is heavily utilized," said Rob Slezak, recreation director for the city. "Of the 52 weekends this year, we have already booked 48 of them. It's our busiest rental and is used for weddings, community activities like concerts and has even had masquerade parties and the Boston Pops there. It raises between 7 and 10 percent of our total revenue."

Furthermore, as more municipalities and recreational sites realize the potential of these multitasking structures, creative uses and partnerships abound.

In Albuquerque, N.M., planners partnered with local corporate offices located near Haynes Park to build a large steel and stone pavilion dominated by an 11-foot fireplace. The company not only helped pay for the structure but arranged to rent it several times each year for employee parties.

"A lot of clients want to have various uses to rent structures out and create a revenue sources," said John Martin, president of one manufacturing company. "There's mixing and matching—people adding lots of customizing to create interest to be not so run-of-the-mill."