Two Maplewood Barn design options discussed

Tuesday, August 31, 2010 | 11:56 p.m. CDT; updated 10:11 a.m. CDT, Wednesday, September 1, 2010

*CORRECTION: An earlier version of this story indicated that Kespohl's ward included Nifong Park. The park is in Columbia's Sixth Ward.

COLUMBIA — Residents came out Tuesday night to show their support for the construction of the new Maplewood Barn to replace the one that burned down last spring.

Lyria Bartlett, an architect from Studio 4, introduced two options for the new barn in detail. Members of the community were welcome to ask questions about the new plans.

Vote for your favorite option

To vote for your favorite Maplewood Barn design option, go to  from Sept. 1-27

Three surveys per family can be submitted.

“Vote early and vote often,” said Michael Griggs, parks services manager of the Parks and Recreation Department.

Plans will be available for viewing this Thursday through Sunday at the Maplewood Barn Theatre.  

Plans will be on display at the Heritage Festival on Sept. 18 and 19 at Historic Nifong Park.

Online voting will close Sept. 27.

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Michael Griggs, parks services manager of the Parks and Recreation Department, discussed funding options and Lee Wilkins Black, vice president of the Maplewood Barn Theatre Board of Directors, introduced the idea of a fundraising committee.  


Bartlett designed the two options for the new barn with input from a design committee that included representatives from the theater organization and the Columbia Parks and Recreation Department. MU architectural design students aided her as well. The group met over the summer to figure out what was necessary for the function of the theater.  

“We wanted to make sure that this building enhances the park, enhances the culture,” Bartlett said.

Bartlett said she plans to use sustainable practices to build the new barn.  She doesn’t want to tear down trees in the construction of the building and would like to use local materials.  

The new barn will have a security system as well. 

Bartlett said that they also want to minimize traffic noise, protect against lighting from headlights and sunsets, have the ability to rehearse inside, and have hot water and restrooms. The association would also like a second-story loft for performing and storage as well as a door to the changing room.

Bartlett provided two options for the new barn, the main difference being the location and angle of the structure.  

Option A is the most similar to the old barn. It is situated in the same location to maintain its historic value.

A new addition on this option is the slight extension of the roof that covers the stage. This option keeps the same stage and gives the performers plenty of room backstage.

“The goal is to keep the stage intact,” Bartlett said.

Option B is oriented in a different direction but still close to the placement of the original barn. It is further back and west.

Although this placement is lower than the old one, it is still safely out of the flood zone. This placement would allow for an amphitheater effect because the stage would be situated at the bottom of a hill. 

Another big difference with this option is the covered stage. In Option A, only some of the lighting and electric would be covered by the extending roof. Option B would have a majority of the lighting and sound system under the roof.

Bartlett said that Option B has more room for prep and practice. Performers could practice in back while a performance is going on, she said.  

Although Option A is more similar to the original barn, Option B still has elements of the old barn in it.

“The historic facade is going to be almost exactly what it was,” Bartlett said of Option B.  

Both of the new structures will be larger than the old barn, but the square footage for both options is the same.  

Bartlett said that features of both options can be interchangeable. The stage and the site can change between the two options.  

As far as materials for the new structure, Bartlett said they would like to keep the look of the old barn.

“We’re considering what’s red and looks like the old barn,” Bartlett said.  


Griggs outlined the following funding sources for the project.  

The insurance from the city would raise $90,000 to $100,000 for the Maplewood Barn at Nifong Park.  

Wilkins Black said the theatre association is determined to raise a minimum of $50,000. The theatre association will be developing a number of fundraising events in the near future, she said. A fundraising committee will be established to accomplish this goal.  

Her main goal is to have indoor plumbing, something the old barn lacked.

“We desperately want indoor plumbing,” Wilkins Black said. “If all the money we have just covers the indoor plumbing, that’s what we’ll do.”

The one-eighth of 1 percent parks sales tax could raise up to $150,000 for building the barn, Griggs said. Voters will decide whether or not to pass that tax in November.

Wilkins Black said that she can’t advocate voting for the tax because the theatre association could lose its nonprofit organization funding.

“We can advocate that you do vote,” Wilkins Black said.   

Third Ward Councilman Gary Kespohl,* said that not passing the tax would mean more strain on the city's general fund.

“If the parks tax is not passed, $500,000 to $600,000 to do parks maintenance will be taken out of the general fund,” Kespohl said.  

Kespohl said the parks tax allows certain money to be set aside for new park development and park maintenance, but either way parks maintenance has to be performed.  If the parks tax is not passed, the money for maintenance will come from the general fund and reduce general fund money for other departments, he said.  

Griggs said that he would rather not be competing for money in the general fund. He said if the parks sales tax is not passed, the project would need to be downsized significantly to cut costs.

The estimated budget for the Maplewood Barn would be $300,000 with the city’s insurance, fundraising by the theatre association and the passed parks sales tax, Griggs said.

With all of these sources of funding in place, Wilkins Black said that construction on the new barn could break ground in April if everything goes according to plan.

“It’s literally like dominoes,” she said.

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