Walton Arts Center hires Portland-based architecture firm to explore downtown parking deck options

Walton Arts Center Chief Operating Officer Terri Trotter leads arts center officials and visiting Boora architects through the Rosen Memorial Rose Garden as part of a walking tour of the center’s facilities Tuesday morning.

Photo: Todd Gill, Fayetteville Flyer

There’s been a lot of talk over the last several months about where to build a downtown parking deck, and how the structure will affect the Walton Arts Center’s expansion plans on Dickson Street.

Now, arts center officials are ready to put some pen to paper in an effort to solve some of the challenges presented by the limited available space, while making sure to leave room to grow in downtown Fayetteville.

The center’s board this month approved a $50,000 budget to bring in an architect to create a broad sketch of a parking deck at each of the remaining site options; the WAC Lot, and the Theater Lot. This week, arts center officials hired Portland-based architecture firm Boora to do just that.

“We’re on a tight timeline for this project, and we felt that they could turn it around,” said Terri Trotter, the arts center’s chief operating officer. “What we really liked about Boora is their arts center and civic center experience.”

According to the firm’s website, Boora has worked on several high-profile arts center projects, including the Mesa Arts Center, the Portland Center for the Performing Arts, and the UT Austin Bass Concert Hall.

Locally, they will be tasked with creating a mapping study and a site plan for both of the proposed parking deck locations considering all of the factors involved, including the Walton Arts Center’s plans for an expanded backstage, a reconfigured loading dock, and more office space.

“What we’re looking for are not necessarily renderings at this stage, but maps and models of what could go where,” Trotter said.

Boora architects Stephen Weeks and Michael Tingley were in Fayetteville Tuesday to tour the facilities, and to meet with city officials to learn more about the project.

“We had some great meetings with the city,” Trotter said. “We’ve talked with their staff, their architects, and they’re thrilled that we’re bringing in these professionals. I think we’re on the same page and we’re excited to see what they come up with.”