Museum’s Convention Center Closing . . . for Hiatus
Reports of the National Mining Hall of Fame and Museum’s Convention Center closing its doors have proved to be true – sort of.
“It’s not necessarily a permanent closure,” explained Dr. Steve Whittington, Executive Director of the National Mining Hall of Fame and Museum (NMFH). “We are putting it on somewhat of a hiatus.”
As of today, the museum will no longer be accepting reservations for the Convention Center, but they will honor their commitments through August, with some exceptions even further into the year. Whittington has also been in touch with groups who do have the facility reserved this winter, seeing if they can find other places for their events.
Describing the interim period as “suspended animation,” at least thru the winter, Whittington explained that the during this period the NMHF Advisory Board will look at the Convention Center’s operations to see if there are things that could be done to make it sustainable. The initial decision was prompted when the Convention Center Coordinator recently tendered her resignation for another job opportunity. That action resulted in an initial review of the Convention Center’s operations by Whittington.
“My analysis had indicated that it really hadn’t been paying for itself for a while, if ever,” said Whittington in regard to the facility. With a staff transition already in place, it seemed a good time to review how the center fits into the organization’s overall mission and whether the NMHF should keep putting money into it.
Ultimately the winter hiatus, “will give us some time to make some decisions about how to run it,” concluded Whittington.
The NMHF Convention Center is located at 116 West 10th Street and includes The Barber Pavillion (main ballroom), The Longyear Auditorium, The Phelps Dodge Room, The Newmont Room, The Kennecott Room and the kitchen/catering facilities. Since its construction, the Convention Center has been used for banquets, meetings, presentations, receptions, proms, weddings, and quinciñeras.
KW Buys Former Sayer & McKee Building on Harrison
So what’s the latest with the old Sayer & McKee building? Well, the business owner that jumped into action to save the structure from total collapse after last winter’s roof cave-in, is now the proud owner of this iconic downtown building. Kyle Welch of KW Construction and Restoration is now the owner of what is legally known as 615 Harrison Avenue.
“We’re going to fix it up, and lease it out, times two,” explains Welch.
One of the primary obstacles to selling the former drugstore was its size, especially for the historic corridor. It’s a large space to heat and rent, so Welch’s plans include, dividing up the building into different usage areas, and constructing two units of lease-able space.
While the architectural renderings will be available soon, the plans call for a 25 ft by 55 ft courtyard space directly off the sidewalk which will have radiant floor heat, eliminating the snow removal chore. The next 15 feet in, will be a sun room. From there, the design goes vertical, with a banquet room stacked on the sun room. Above that will be an observation deck with both east and west views from the top floor. The leased space will be divided into north and south units. Welch is hopeful for a restaurant on the south side, and “something else” on the north side.
So, the good news is that one of Leadville’s Harrison Avenue gems is in the hands of a native son, with family roots and a construction/restoration business. And the great news is that Leadville could be seeing another restaurant, or “maybe even a brewpub,” soon! Stay Tuned!