Bend Parks unveils open-air pavilion plans

Design could be first of its kind in the nation

Simpson Pavilion plans unveiled

BEND, Ore. - Bend is getting its first look at what a new open air sports pavilion could look like on the city's Westside. Tuesday night, designers showed the Bend Metro Park and Rec Board the first renderings of the proposed structure, planned to be built near the roundabout at Simpson and Colorado avenues.

"We have a structure type that we are looking at," Project Manager Jim Figurski said. "We're vetting all of the technical issues surrounding that type of structure."

The $11.35 million project will take up 3.3 acres of an 11-acre chunk of land, a major element of a recent voter-approved bond measure.

Designers from Opsis Architecture in Portland proposed a catenary-type structure. The design would be open-air, but the roof would be made of three-inch wood panels, suspended or draped by anchored cables.

James Meyer, a partner at Opsis Architecture, says they have been working with a Canadian company on the idea and a system to support the roof.

"We began a discussion and dialogue regarding how this facility could be both highly functional, but also iconic," Meyer said.

He added that, to his knowledge, the building would be a first in the country.

The idea to a do an all-wood roof was inspired by Bend's history and where the city is headed.

"We could think about wood being used in ways that are quite unique," Meyer said, "where wood could represent a history of Bend."

With the open-air nature of the building, designers hope it will be inviting.

"You're going to see the activities," Meyer said, and "that will encourage more people to participate in those activities relative to recreation."

Adjacent to the building would be two multipurpose gardens or courtyards.

The building will house an ice rink in the winter, and in the summer will be used as a multi-sports complex.

"It's light, it's airy, and yet it has the protection and enclosure that we need," Figurski said. "I think it will be something that will attract people to Bend."

With a vision, the design team is now using special software to test different conditions, from snow load to how water would move on the roof.

Cost estimates should be finalized by the end of the week. Project managers say right now, they are slightly over budget but expect to finish under.

When plans are more set in stone, the public will get a chance to weigh in on what they think of the plans. That could come after the first of the year.

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