Austin: CMAR to Be Sought for Dougherty Arts Center Project in Butler Shores
Featured Illustration (above): A preliminary rendering of the new Dougherty Arts Center, as unveiled earlier in 2019. Image: Image: City of Austin/Studio8/RVi
By Edmond Ortiz
Austin (Travis County)–The city of Austin will be soliciting bids for a construction manager-at-risk to oversee the relocation of the Dougherty Fine Arts Center, a 40,000-square-foot, $19 million project.
City Council voted Dec. 5 to pass a resolution supporting city staff’s recommendation to go with a CMAR for the project, which received a $25 million allocation from a city bond issue that voters approved in November 2018.
Dougherty Arts Center currently operates from a formal military reserve facility built in 1947. Image: Dougherty Arts Center
Local leaders have spent years looking into what to do with the Dougherty Center, which was originally a military reserve complex built in 1947 at 1110 Barton Springs Road.
A nearly decade-old assessment by the city’s parks and recreation department found that the structure is “beyond repair” with myriad problems. The center also is located in a floodplain.
The city decided to plan to replace the existing Dougherty Center by building a new facility on public park space at Butler Shores behind the ZACH Theatre where two softball fields currently sit.
The solicitation and evaluation process will last 10 months. The city anticipates construction will begin in fall of 2021.
“A construction manager-at-risk firm will be selected by a city-staffed evaluation panel that will evaluate and score proposals based on published evaluation criteria to determine the highest ranked proposer,” a city staff report on the matter stated.
The city’s oldest arts venue, the Dougherty Center hosts theatrical, music and dance performances, as well as art exhibits and programs and special events.
The parks department worked with local architecture firm Studio8 and landscape planning company RVi to produce preliminary concepts of a relocated Dougherty Center.
The conceptual plan calls for a new multi-story structure where the gallery, theater and educational program sections each will be distinguishable from each other and have a dedicated entrance. VBX reported on the concept master plan in detail in this April 12, 2019 report, after it was approved by the Austin Planning Commission.
A preliminary conceptual site plan for the new Dougherty Arts Center, as unveiled earlier in 2019. Image: Image: City of Austin/Studio8/RVi
The concept master plan includes room for programmable space outside and–due to its proximity to the ZACH Theatre and other nearby arts venues and organizations–there will be new opportunities for collaboration.
At the Dec. 5 meeting, Councilwoman Ann Kitchen did propose that the new center include a robust parking and public transportation plan.
She also suggested the new building design could incorporate a offices of the Parks and Recreation Department, which presently operate at Butler Shores.
Edmond Ortiz is a lifelong San Antonian and a 20-plus-year veteran in local journalism, He previously worked full-time at the San Antonio Express-News, and has been freelancing for outlets such as the Rivard Report.