Mountain Center Park lodge, Presbyterian Mountain Center Foundation

Material Information

Mountain Center Park lodge, Presbyterian Mountain Center Foundation
Alternate title:
Presbyterian Mountain Center conference, lodge and recreation facility
Alternate title:
Programming report, Presbyterian Mountain Center conference, lodge and recreation facility
Zeeb, Katheryn L
Publication Date:
Physical Description:
23 leaves, [26] leaves of plates : illustrations (some color), chart, maps, plans ; 22 x 28 cm


Subjects / Keywords:
Church conference centers -- Colorado -- Jefferson County ( lcsh )
Church conference centers ( fast )
Colorado -- Jefferson County ( fast )
bibliography ( marcgt )
theses ( marcgt )
non-fiction ( marcgt )


Includes bibliographical references.
General Note:
Alternate title: Programming report: Presbyterian Mountain Center conference, lodge and recreation facility.
General Note:
Submitted in partial fulfillment of the requirements for the degree, Master of Architecture, College of Design and Planning.
Statement of Responsibility:
Katheryn Zeeb.

Record Information

Source Institution:
University of Colorado Denver
Rights Management:
All applicable rights reserved by the source institution and holding location.
Resource Identifier:
09428969 ( OCLC )
LD1190.A72 1978m .Z43 ( lcc )

Full Text


1204 00270 7595
This thesis program is respectfully submitted to the Graduate Thesis Committee, College of Environmental Design at the University of Colorado at Denver, this 15th day of December, 1978.
Katheryn L. Zeeb


The Presbyterian Mountain Center Foundation, Inc. is a part of the Denver Presbytery. The Foundation acquired some 1500 acres of land with the vision of developing there a conference, camping and retreat center for year-round use by youth and by adults.
The initial desire was for the facility to be used mainly by church groups. This vision has matured and grown into a desire to develop a multi-use conference and recreation area for use, not only by church-related organizations, but community and educational organizations, also.
The Presbyterian Mountain Center Foundation, Inc. is the group with prime responsibility for the development of the Mountain Center Park. The park consists of 1540 acres of mountain land in Jefferson County, Colorado, approximately 25 miles west of downtown Denver.
The development within the park is limited to picnic and camping facilities presently. The projected usages will include the conference center and lodge-restaurant complex, seminar facilities, apartments, a youth camp, picnic areas, primitive camping areas, a recreational vehicle park, open space areas, and a wilderness hiking trail system. There also will be the necessary maintenance facilities to service the entire development.
The park property was obtained by the Presbytery of Denver in 1964 at a cost of $175,000. The site is adjacent to Interstate 70, 3% miles west of Exit 252 from Interstate 70 to U. S. Highway 40. In 1967, the Mountain Center Development Committee was organized to study the development of the center. The Presbyterian Mountain Center Foundation is the descendant of the Development Committee, and was established in October, 1977. The Mountain Center Foundation is

under the direction of the Board of Directors and the Presbyterian Mountain Center Board, which is an advisory council of 100 members.
The park is in such a location as to be easily accessible to metropolitan Denver, as well as being within easy driving distance of major mountain recreational areas, making it an attractive year-round use area. The site's rolling hills and substantial tree cover, secluded glades, natural springs and large grassy meadows, along with its less severe weather of the higher mountains and mild summer temperatures, couple to provide the park user with beautiful, pleasant surroundings in which to enjoy a variety of activities in all seasons.
The Mountain Center Park is designed to retain its natural condition with the exception of approximately 165 acres of land to receive concentrated development in dispersed locations. This dispersal allows visitors to maintain their sense of seclusion, even with a number of activities and programs being carried on at once. The Park usage will further be restricted to 1500 people at any one time to prevent damage to the ecology and assure relative privacy.
There exists an increasing demand for facilities such as the Mountain Center intends to offer, and the demand is from non-Presbyterian groups, educational groups, government agencies and private commercial concerns. With a variety of facilities and programs, the Center will be able to meet this growing demand with little competition.

The purpose of this report is to compile as much of the scattered information into one space as possible. The information has been compiled from personal meetings with a representative of the Mountain Center Foundation and from a number of separate reports and studies which the Foundation has previously authorized. The information in these studies has been thoroughly studied and edited, revised and updated, where possible, since several of the studies were prepared a few years ago.
The client group for this project is made up of a number of different groups. The first client group is, of course, the Denver Presbytery with primary contact through the Presbyterian Mountain Center Foundation. Mr. James Totton, Director of the Mountain Center Foundation is the personal contact and main advisor to this effort for the Foundation. The next client group involves a number of people, as it is the Presbyterian organizations, on a local scale, Metro Denver, other Presbyteries, the Colorado-Utah Synod (of which the Denver Presbytery is a part) and the national level. The third group of potential users would be religious groups of other denominations. Following these groups would be local commercial firms and professional groups, firms and groups from outside Denver, non-profit organizations, educational institutions and community groups, local, state and federal government organizations and, lastly, tourists.
This great variety of client groups, all of which are probably not represented here, have several points in common. The need and desire for conference and recreation space in which to hold retreats which remove the participants from their normal environment,

to allow for better attention to the subject matter. The Presbyterian groups desire a place which will nurture human spirit as well, and this may well apply to the other groups, too.
From this group of potential users, some interviews were conducted by the Foundation to determine some of the concerns of these various groups.
This report will be organized so that the statement of goals for the project are foremost. Then the back-up information follows that will present the known facts concerning the project. This will be followed by the concepts, the needs, and all this distilled into a problem statement describing the project. This format will give a better understanding and grasp of the concerns involved with the project and the situations controlling it. (Note: The site analysis included in this report in intentionally not too detailed, as a more detailed analysis will be presented separately later as a part of the actual thesis.)

Chartered in 1973 by the Denver Presbytery of the Presbyterian Church of the United States, the Presbyterian Mountain Center Foundation, Inc. has the sole purpose to develop and operate a center for nurturing the growth and development of human spirit and faith. The Foundation is "committed to provide programs and facilities for the propagation of the Christian faith." This commitment to the function of the center is directed toward the family, social and moral responsibilities in people of all ages and social, ethnic, racial, economic and cultural backgrounds. In order that the Foundation achieve this, the programs at the center will address all areas of life, both social and spiritual, "encouraging the growth of people to become loving and responsive to God and their neighbors."
Programs to be encouraged by the Foundation will include, in addition to those of local church groups, the Denver Presbytery and other Presbyterian groups:
(a) Special secondary educational programs provided by colleges and universities using a variety of staff and resources in cooperation with Mountain Center Park.
(b) Educational seminars or conferences to broaden the intellectual and social awareness of attendants of the conferences.
(c) Family conferences to strengthen family life.
(d) Conferences appealing to people in business and the professions relating Christian faith to social responsibilities.
(e) Labor-management conferences establishing dialogue in a neutral and selected setting.

(f) Programs addressing the special needs of the elderly and socially or physically disadvantaged.
This listing of programs is not all-inclusive, but should serve to demonstrate the broad range of users and uses for the Mountain Center Park.
With regard to the conference center itself, the quality of the space is to be high since this building is to be the hub of activity within the Mountain Center Park. The main purpose of the conference center is to fulfill the need for a quality adult-oriented seminar and conference center near Denver. Since this facility should be the one that caters to commercial and governmental organizations desiring to use the Mountain Center for seminars and conferences, it should provide the highest quality of the facilities available at the Center. At the same time it fills the need for high quality facilities for Presbyterian users.

Inherent with the Mountain Center Foundation's self-imposed use limit of 1500 persons at one time is not only the assurance of relative privacy and prevention of ecological damage, but also the suggesti of approximate capacities and size requirements which the facility will need to meet.
The occupancy mixes which the Mountain Center Foundation feels are appropriate with regard to the conference-lodge facility encompasses parking needs as well as occupant needs.
The Conference Center and Lodge consist of a 100 unit lodge with dining capacity of 400 seats, seminar and conference rooms for 500 people and recreational facilities. The lodge capacity assumes two persons per unit, therefore, the lodge will have 200 spaces (plus or minus some) for overnight accommodations. The restaurant will have 400 seats, assuming that some seats will be occupied by persons not staying overnight, and may be used by persons using other overnight facilities in the park.
The seminar space available should have enough room for 200 people, with the larger conference area having room for 300 people. The seminar room could possibly be more efficiently used if it were divided into four spaces of 50 persons each.
The parking requirements associated with each function are 150 cars for the lodge-restaurant, and an additional 40 parking spaces associated with the conference center, by regulation. The assumption is made here of at least 2 persons per car, and possibly more, so that approximately 400 persons plus may arrive by car. An aspect to be pointed out which is recommended by the Foundation,is for conferences,

buses be used to lessen unwanted traffic congestion on the site.
The Recreation facility suggested with close proximity to the lodge is a swimming pool capable of being used year-round.
The rooms within the lodge shall have private bathrooms and each have 2 double beds. The seminar rooms, especially, and possibly the conference room, shall have access to audio-visual equipment to meet the needs of the conferees. Within the conference center shall be the 300 seat multi-purpose auditorium and seminar rooms, as mentioned above, central services, administration offices, central registration for the Park, gift shop, laundromat, library, and transportation scheduling. Also in association with the lodge and conference center will be the central kitchen.
The staffing requirements include all administrative, maintenance, and service personnel, as well as the Mountain Center Park educational staff. These people would be housed on-site in the employee housing or could live off-site nearby and commute into the Park each day.
As was said before, the users of the Park will include Presbyterian groups, other religious denominational groups, and many outside groups in the commercial and business world, and educational groups.
Information collected concerning the Presbyterian groups showed that of the three concerned sectors (local churches mainly in the Denver Presbytery, the Denver Presbytery-Colorado-Utah Synod, and the national levels) the latter two would be the

most likely users of the lodge part of the conference-lodge complex, while all three would use conference facilities. The Denver Presbytery, Colorado-Utah Synod projected their potential uses as: Presbytery meetings, Mariner's, men's and women's meetings, Christian Education training conferences, missions meetings, family camps, regional meetings and music conferences. These potential uses would generally involve larger groups of up to 100 or 150 for longer periods of time, some as long as a week.
On the national level, the uses would include national planning conferences, men's and women's meetings, and major seminars such as National Mariner's meetings, Ecumenical Youth Leadership Event,
Marriage Enrichment Session, Bible study workshops, etc. These meetings would be one or two weeks long and involve up to 200 participants.
The local level users would probably not require the lodge facilities but would take advantage of the conference and seminar facilities for planning conferences, officer's conferences, teacher's conferences, all-church retreats, Sunday school retreats, music conferences, weekend seminars on special subjects, and Mariner's meetings. Even on weekend-long seminars, the projection is made by the local groups that most would stay in the apartments or camper/trailer areas for overnight.
Group size would range from 10 to 50.
With regard to use by other denominations, it is foreseen that these groups will place more demands on the Mountain Center than will the Presbyterians. Since there are no adequate mountain facilities close to Denver that offer appropriate facilities for spiritual and personal renewal, Mountain Center will experience expected heavy use. All of the uses

expected by Presbyterian groups are applicable to other Protestant groups, but, as before, the time frame is for weekends and short periods.
Commercial use of the center on a year-round basis appears to be very likely. From the information obtained the lodge will be in demand on a year-round basis. There are four specific types of commercial groups.
(a) Local firms showed interest in the possibilities of Mountain Center for directors meetings, planning conferences, training sessions, sales meetings, etc.
Some larger firms use outside facilities for training sessions as much as three to four times a week with small groups and once or twice monthly for groups
up to 100 people. Noted as important in using facilities away from the company's own were no phone calls, a new environment, and solitude.
(b) A large number of professional groups in the Denver area hold monthly meetings and require seminar and conference facilities, along with dining facilities. Most of these professional groups meet on a short term, one to two days, basis with groups of 50 to 75.
(c) Convention spin-off groups also represent potential users. The typical group is from 30 to 50 persons, and are mainly a mid-week use group.
(d) The out-of-town organizations expressed an interest in Mountain Center for annual or semi-annual meetings of a 5 to 7 day time frame, to make it worth their while for traveling. Though these would be
an infrequent use group, the longer time frame allows for a balancing use.

The commercial user represents a year-round user who should take at least 15% of the available capacity during mid-week and who needs lodge and conference and dining facilities.
The non-profit organizations use can range from day camping and week long vacations for senior citizens to day and overnight camping for disadvantaged children. In the one case the lodge and dining facilities are most important, while the other would most likely make use of the other overnight facilities of the Park. The most likely user seems to be cooperative education programs in conjunction with student field work and non-classroom education programs. This means a longer term use of lodge and dining facilities in particular, with some use of seminar rooms.
Government agency usage of Mountain Center would be much like the commercial group use, and since Denver represents local, state and national levels of government the lodge and conference facilities will draw their use.
Though listed last, the tourist market represents the largest user group, with the possibility for 90 to 95% occupancy of facilities during the summer months. The location of Mountain Center also provides drawing power through the winter months as there are four major ski areas within a one hour drive. The average stay of the tourist is five and one-half days, making the lodge and dining facilities very attractive to those on a visit to the state, and particularly, the metro Denver area.

This will be a brief overview of the site, as the detailed site analysis is part of the later stages of this thesis. This report will focus on a discussion of the site size, vicinity surrounding the site, location, accessibility, et cetera.
The location of the 1540 acre Mountain Center Park is easily accessible from Interstate 70 via U. S. Highway 40 off the El Rancho exit (#252). The site is three and one-half miles west of El Rancho on the north side of Highway 40. The on-site accessibility is purposely limited to one entrance road to provide the necessary control over vehicular entrance. There are two auxiliary accessways for use by emergency vehicles and service vehicles.
The former zoning of the land was Agricultural Two (A-2), with the new zoning of Planned Development (P-D). The surrounding zoning in all directions is also A-2. The land use of the surrounding area is very dispersed housing. Water on site is provided by eight wells producing 90 gallons per minute.
The amount of traffic on the site will be limited and controlled by the nature of the use limit on the park.
The slopes over much of the property are very steep with several broad easy-sloping meadows which are suitable for construction. A large portion of the site is covered by a forest of mainly Ponderosa Pine, with localized areas of other species. Beaver Brook and Soda Creek along the southern edge of the property provide a much more varied array of plant and animal life than is found elsewhere on the site. Wildlife presently using the site include the Aberts squirrel, Blue grouse, cotton


tail rabbits, snowshoe hares, coyotes, bobcats, various meadow rodents and a variety of songbirds.
There also is an occasional black bear, mountain lion and a few wintering elk. Some restrictions on winter visitors and dog-control regulations are advisable to keep the ecology as unspoiled as possible.
Already there is significant evidence of man on the site, not only in the form of the camping and picnicing facilities, but there is a Public Service Company transmission line which extends the length of the site. Other reminders include some sounds of traffic on 1-70, U. S. 40 and U. S. 6.
These views and sounds must be taken into consideration and perhaps some screening procedures will be warranted.
According to the directions the Foundation has already taken, there should be minimal disturbance of natural drainage patterns by grading and/or use of varying materials.
The elevation of 6500 to 7500 feet allows the Mountain Center to enjoy a milder summer weather condition, and less severe winter conditions, usually, than the high mountains.
With careful planning and handling of the design, the assets of the site will be used to full advantage with minimal disturbance of the natural conditions and minimal reminder of man's relative proximity.
The target costs for the conference-lodge complex fall in the range of $4,775,000 to $6,500,000, though these figures are predicated on 1977 costs and may need to be adjusted according to current construction costs.


The funding procedure for the development of Mountain Center Park is through a group called The Mountain Center Builders' Club, which raises part of the needed money. The Foundation is researching which method of debt financing will best suit the Foundation's purposes, as well as the development of an Individual Pledge Campaign and a continuing endowment program titled the Mountain Center Benefactor Program. Through these means the foundation has a tight handle on the cost and funding requirements.

To be included within the lodge-conference center facility are the lodge accommodations, conference rooms, seminar rooms, dining, kitchen facilities, conference and lodge administration, reception and registration, services (such as linens, maintenance and possibly the public laundromat or laundry facilities), an infirmary and nursery, the recreation center, and associated parking for lodge and conference center.
For reasons of privacy to lodge guests who may not be attending conferences, the accommodations should be separated from the conference and seminar rooms to minimize disturbances. The conference room seminar rooms and main dining facilities, obviously require access to the kitchen for service personnel; though the seminar rooms' requirement is less important than the other two.
The conference and seminar rooms should be easily accessible from the reception/registration area.
The service areas, including the. kitchen, should be relatively isolated from the public. The infirmary and nursery should be accessible to the public, though not located so as to disturb either lodge guests or conferences.
The recreation facilities should be most accessible to lodge guests and have access from the reception area.
Parking related to the building should allow for passenger drop-off as near the main entrance as possible, with parking at least visually isolated from the building.

These are general function relationships which allow for a greater or lesser relation between functions as is deemed necessary or is dictated by siting considerations.
The following chart shows a generalized organizational structure which may be modified as the Mountain Center progresses in development and settles into its specific efficient organization. The chart shows a viable structure to operate the Center facilities as an example, since the specific organization is still developing.

Customer contoct Scheduling Buildings Linens Commissary Laundromat
Reservotions Grounds Laundry Cafeteria Book store
Transportation Utilities Maids Restaurant Gift shop
Coordination Snack bar
of conference space

The space requirements for the 1odge/conference center are best summarized in table form;
Lodge Accommodations 100 rms. 0
550 SF/Rm. 55,000 SF
Conference Room 300 seats
0 33 SF/st. 10,000
Seminar Rooms 200 seats
0 20 SF/st. 4,000
Dining 400 seats
0 20 SF/st. 8,000
Kitchen Same as
Conference & Dining 8,000
Lodge Administration Reception/ 1000 SF 1,000
Registration 1000-
1500 SF 1,500
Services Infirmary and 2000 SF 2,000
Nursery 800 SF 800
Recreation 10,000 SF 10,000
Parking 140 spaces
0 400 SF/sp. 56,000
Total space requirement 156,300 SF
Building Area = 100,300 SF Parking Requirement = 56,000 SF
By Mountain Center regulation the building coverage is limited to 70,000 SF. The height limitations are as follows;

Lodge No more than 40', and 3 stories
Conference No more than 30', and 2 stories
Recreation No more than 40', and 2 stories
The land area requirement for the building is approximately 1-3/4 acres. Parking land area requirement is approximately 1-1/2 acres, if surface parking is used: there is no restriction on underground parking to minimize land coverage and maintain more natural beauty.
The cost estimate is, also, best presented in a table form:
A. Building cost
B. Fixed Equip.
100,300 SF 0 avg. $40/SF 8% of A
o 1 UC L/CVC 1 U(Ji LO/O Ul n 1979 Projected Inflation UU1jOUU
Increases of 7% 345,435
D. Total Construction ' 5,280,195
E. Site Acquisition N/A
F. Movable Equip. 8% of A 320,960
G. Prof. Fees 6% of D 316,815
H. Contingencies 10% of D 528,020
J. Admin. Costs 1% of D 52,800
K. Total Budget Required $6,498,790
This budget analysis is presented to give a rough idea of the size project being discussed, and to give a feeling in this preliminary stage, for the total cost.

The Presbyterian Mountain Center Foundation, Inc. seeks to establish conference, lodge and recreation facilities appealing to a variety of users whose lives will be enriched socially and spiritually by the experience of the beauty and seclusion of the Mountain Center Park. This desire should be taken to its fullest and facilities provided which are in harmony with the surrounding park land and which comfortably fulfill the desires of the Foundation and meet the needs of the users.
The rolling, forested hills of the site which carefully conceal broad meadows and act as host to numerous kinds of wildlife demand minimal site disturbance. Therefore, the lodge and conference center should blend well with the surroundings and provide for the maximum communication with the land.

I would like to gratefully acknowledge the free exchange of information granted me by Mr. James Totton, Director, Presbyterian Mountain Center Foundation, Inc. His effort in making information available to me is greatly appreciated.

Presbyterian Mountain Center: Market and Economic Feasibility Report; Bickert, Browne, Coddington and Associates, Inc.; June, 1971
Preliminary Land Use Study, Presbyterian Mountain Center, Jefferson County, Colorado; THK Associates, Inc.; November, 1972
Development Summary; Presbyterian Mountain Center Foundation, Inc.
Comments on Zone Change Request; Jefferson County, Colorado; June, 1977
Problem Seeking; William Pena; Cahners Books In't'e'rnational; Boston, Massachusetts; 1977