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 September 13, 2002
Tourism Whistler Unveils Design For Conference Centre Renovation

 Following the recent design approval by the Resort Municipality of Whistler Design Panel, Tourism Whistler has unveiled the features of the upcoming Whistler Conference Centre renovation with a Whistler theme that will echo the natural environment of the region. "The new design will build on the premise that visitors and guests have visual reminders of the natural beauty and surroundings found in Whistler. The overall goal is to have the new facility look and feel a part of Whistler Village, and the region, in form and in the choice of materials and colours," says Janet Lutz, of Lutz Associates Architects, and architect for the renovation project.

A key element in the design planning was to create a stronger connection between the interior and the exterior spaces of the facility. The entranceway from Village Square will be transformed into a grand sky-lit gable entry with exposed wood beams and decking, and a full-height glass façade enhancing views into the building, and out to the mountains from the interior. The entry will be framed with evergreens, boulders, and planters featuring native flora. "The renewed Whistler Conference Centre will celebrate the Whistler environment," says Lutz. "The height and the structure of the new entranceway will provide a sense of the northwest coastal forest. The skylight will allow natural light into the entrance hall and the roof lines will be raised to allow views to Blackcomb and Whistler Mountains."

The upper level of the prefunction area located immediately through the entrance, currently two stories of open space, will be filled in to create more useable prefunction and meeting space. This will be called the "Grand Entrance Hall". A small addition on the south plaza will further increase the size of this prefunction space.

A signature 12-metre tall (40 foot) Rumford wood-burning fireplace will be the focal point in the Grand Entrance Hall, and its chimney will be a landmark feature on the exterior of the building. Alternate entranceways will also be refurbished and a new elevator will provide access to the lower levels. The stairway to the lower level from the municipal parking lot on the north side of the building will receive a canopy roof and new stairs, and will be framed with stone pillars, in order to enhance its presence as a secondary entrance.

The renovation will also include a new roof made of reflective, 80 per cent recycled material, the removal of the large green mechanical stack on the west side of the building, and improvements in exterior lighting and signage.

The renovation will roll out in two phases. The design overhaul will be incorporated into the year-long Phase I project, which commences October 1, 2002. It will feature further increases to meeting capacity, enhanced telecommunications capabilities, a business centre, increased washroom facilities, and a coatroom.

Phase II will include major developments such as geothermal heating, additional meeting room capacity, a water conservation system, and a new executive meeting space. Other features will include a sophisticated building management system, new administrative offices, and a daycare. Funding has not been approved for Phase II.

Tourism Whistler is aiming for gold level status in the Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design Green Building Rating System (LEED) certification for the new facility upon completion of Phase II. LEED is a leading industry designation managed by the U.S. Green Building Council.

Tourism Whistler is the member-based marketing organization representing Whistler and operating the Whistler Conference Centre, Whistler Golf Club and