Multimillion-dollar Olympic museum at Squaw Valley reaches next phase | SierraSun.com

Multimillion-dollar Olympic museum at Squaw Valley reaches next phase

Margaret Moran
mmoran@sierrasun.com

This represents one possible building concept for the Squaw Valley Olympic Museum & Winter Sports’ Heritage Center. It is not a final building design.

OLYMPIC VALLEY, Calif. — A museum dedicated to showcasing the heritage of the 1960 Winter Olympics in Squaw Valley and the larger legacy of winter sports in the Sierra Nevada is closing in on a display site.

At its July 21 meeting at Lake Tahoe, the Placer County Board of Supervisors voted 3-1 for staff to develop a master plan to further assess the feasibility of locating the proposed Squaw Valley Olympic Museum & Winter Sports' Heritage Center on the southern corner of Squaw Valley Road, a site referred to as "Squaw Valley Park."

Supervisor Jennifer Montgomery, of District 5, which includes Squaw Valley, voted against, while Supervisor Robert Weygandt, of District 2, was absent.

"The park site would be the last option that we would look at," Montgomery said during the meeting. "It was never off the table, but it would absolutely be the last site when all other sites had been explored and found to be infeasible."

Since another site — the Gateway Property on the north side of Squaw Valley Road — is still considered viable, she stated preferring moving forward with that option.

Benefits of that site include the owner's interest in donating a portion of the property for the purpose of the museum, proximity to the historic Olympic rings monument near the Highway 89 intersection, and providing a catalyst for future development and infrastructure improvements, according to county staff.

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Meanwhile, drawbacks include proximity to a power substation and high voltage transmission lines, existing blighted development, and lack of sewer service.

Citing those cons, the Squaw Valley Ski Museum Foundation, a nonprofit spearheading the creation of the museum, is in favor of the park site.

"For us, what it really comes down to is where can we be successful," Bill Clark, board president of the Squaw Valley Ski Museum Foundation, said during the meeting. "Where can we create a cultural historical institution that is here and thriving when the 100th anniversary of the Squaw Valley games come around, and in our opinion, the opinion of all our experts and everybody that we've talked to, the Squaw Valley Park is the ideal location."

Additional benefits of the park site include proximity to existing public uses, providing a catalyst for infrastructure improvements and aesthetics, according to county staff.

Constraints include zoning, access and egress, a U.S. Forest Service deed restriction, lack of sewer service and power utilities, and year-round use availability.

"What we are hearing from the people that are tasked with raising the money is (that) we will be successful on the south side," said board chair Kirk Uhler, supervisor of District 4. "There is absolutely no harm to the county in giving them this shot."

Squaw Valley Ski Museum Foundation intends to fund construction through private fundraising, Clark said in a follow-up interview.

According to the latest museum concept prepared by the foundation, potential building costs, including exhibits, range from $900 to $1,100 per square foot.

With an overall size of about 14,500 square feet spread over two floors, it would cost between $13.05 million to $15.95 million to build.

Clark said those are very rough figures since building designs are conceptual at this point and construction can costs change.

Fundraising along with the entitlement process for the project lies ahead, Clark said. There is no timeline for when construction may begin.

More online

Visit squawvalleymuseum.org” target=”_blank”>Bold”>squawvalleymuseum.org to learn more about the proposed Olympic museum at Squaw Valley.

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Free Placer County museum tour this weekend

Twenty museums in Placer County from Roseville to Lake Tahoe will offer free admission this weekend, Aug. 15-16, for the county’s eighth annual Heritage Trail Museum Tour.

According to Placer County, local museums participating are Gatekeepers’ Museum, 130 West Lake Blvd., Tahoe City; Watson Cabin, 560 North Lake Blvd., Tahoe City; and The Museum of Sierra Ski History and the 1960 Winter Olympics, 760 North Lake Blvd., Tahoe City.

Visit theheritagetrail.blogspot.com/2015/06/2015-trail-online-guide.html” target=”_blank”>Bold”>theheritagetrail.blogspot.com/2015/06/2015-trail-online-guide.html for information and a full list of participating museums.

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