This blog represents most of the newspaper columns (appearing in various Colorado Community Newspapers and Yourhub.com) written by me, James LaRue, during the time in which I was the director of the Douglas County Libraries in Douglas County, Colorado. (Some columns are missing, due to my own filing errors.) This blog covers the time period from April 11, 1990 to January 12, 2012.

Unless I say so, the views expressed here are mine and mine alone. They may be quoted elsewhere, so long as you give attribution. The dates are (at least according my records) the dates of publication in one of the above print newspapers.

The blog archive (web view) is in chronological order. The display of entries, below, seems to be in reverse order, new to old.

All of the mistakes are of course my own responsibility.

Thursday, August 30, 2007

August 30, 2007 - Architectural Competition a Tough Call

Elsewhere in today's paper, you'll read about the results of our architectural competition for a performing arts center and library in Parker.

The town and the library district teamed up on this project to get some help in crafting a vision -- and nailing down the costs. By getting not just one but three architectural teams to tackle the opportunities and challenges presented by the program and the site, we hoped to wind up with several independent estimates. That, in turn, would give us an intelligent range of choices.

The winner would get the contract (providing, of course, that we could find the money their estimates would tell us we needed).

The other two firms would also get something: $10,000 apiece. That's $10,000 for about 6 weeks of work.

But guess what? These extraordinarily gifted and creative people gave us at least $100,000 of value.

We now have a whole grab bag of options to choose from and plan with. We have comprehensive estimates for everything. We have multiple views of buildings and the site.

So I want to publicly acknowledge the truly remarkable contribution that each of our contenders -- all privately held businesses -- made to the public sector.

The folks who picked the winner, drawn from Parker's Town Council and our own Board of Trustees, had the best of all dilemmas: how to choose from three great options. These businesses invested a lot of intense effort on a gamble. We are the beneficiaries of their genius.

In the words of Jeannene Bragg, Town Administrator for Parker, "The committee had to make some tough choices and we would highly recommend any of these teams without reservation."

So let's take a moment to list names and contact information for some architectural firms with strong Colorado ties, whose work we can heartily recommend for quality, for sensitivity, for creativity, for comprehensiveness. Every single one of these firms demonstrated an ability to listen, to analyze, to go the extra mile. And all of their designs had deep insight and merit.

Do business with these people, whether you're in the public or the private sector, and you'll be glad you did. They know their stuff.

My only regret is that I couldn't work with every one of them. It would have been fun. (Note, I realize there are more than 3 names here. Humphries Poli teamed up with Semple Brown. Thomas Hacker teamed up with Sink Combs Dethlefs.)

Barker Rinker Seacat
3457 Ringsby Court, Unit 200
Denver, CO 80216

Humphries Poli Architects
1215 Elati Street
Denver Colorado 80204

Semple Brown Design, P.C.
1160 Santa Fe Drive
Denver CO 80204

Sink, Combs, Dethlefs / Thomas Hacker
Sink Combs Dethlefs
475 Lincoln Street, Suite 100
Denver CO 80203

Thomas Hacker Architects
733 SW Oak Street, Suite 100
Portland OR 97205

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