Snow King center wins grant for improvements
By Benjamin Graham, Jackson Hole, Wyo.
June 25, 2012
The Wyoming State Loan and Investment Board has approved a $250,000 grant for the first round of improvements to the 20-year-old Snow King Sports & Event Center.
Renovations could begin as early as September.
The town of Jackson will match the grant, meaning $500,000 worth of funds will be available for the improvements.
Town officials and Central Management Inc., the company that operates the center, applied for the grant in March.
“The $250,000 is going to build a new entrance and a small breakout room,” Town Manager Bob McLaurin said. “Our match will be for other improvements to the building.”
Other phase one improvements include restroom renovations, carpet replacement and other small infrastructure projects, he said. The town also plans to improve the building’s sound system.
The center can hold up to 2,500 people. Town officials and members of the Wyoming Business Council, which recommended the grant, hope to draw more conventions to the center.
“A lot of what the town would like to see accomplished there is more meetings, conferences and conventions,” John Valiante, chairman and president of CMI, said.
“The Snow King Center can be a real draw for Jackson and Wyoming,” Roger Bower, a regional director on the Wyoming Business Council, said.
The council recommended the money for the project before it was sent to the loan and investment board for approval.
“There are not a lot of big facilities around that can host large conventions,” he said.
Construction could start in mid-September and is expected to last eight to 10 weeks, Valiante said.
A second phase of improvements will add more conference rooms, an expanded balcony and an enclosed area on the balcony for meetings. Phase two is expected to cost roughly as much as phase one, Valiante said, but funding has not been secured yet.
A second, smaller ice rink is envisioned as an addition to the building in phase three, costing roughly $1.5 million, Valiante said. He said phases two and three are “a couple years out.”
An application submitted to the business council says the center hosts five conventions each year: the Northern Rocky Mountain Optometric Conference, the Children’s Tumor Foundation, the Nicholas Food Show, Northwestern University and the Wyoming Natural Gas Fair.