A Hudson Valley Shakespeare Festival (HVSF) plan to turn a golf course in Garrison, The Garrison, into a permanent venue for a performing arts festival will require a full environmental study, according to a decision by the Philipstown Planning Board, which is examination of the application for the project. The Planning Board has approved a positive environmental impact statement for the project requiring the preparation of a draft environmental impact statement under the State of Environmental Quality Review Act. New York (SEQRA). The action came shortly before the HVSF revealed its design for an 8,650 square foot permanent outdoor theater project that could seat around 500 people.
In addition to the theater, the HVSF project would include a 4,000 square foot backstage structure, visitor center and box office, 3,500 square foot rehearsal building, administrative offices, picnic lawns and gardens. , concession and washroom spaces, and an outdoor pavilion for HVSF and community events.
An existing restaurant and banquet hall would be scaled down to accommodate 200 people. The proposal calls for the construction of buildings for the accommodation of artists and guests which would provide 26 accommodation units. A total of 521 parking spaces would be provided.
The current proposal has been scaled back from what was originally proposed and eliminates a separate indoor theater and hotel.
“With the removal of the covered theatre, the number of performances and the performance season will be significantly reduced and will be comparable to what is currently happening at Boscobel, where HVSF has been performing for decades without incident”, Jan K. Johannessen of Kellard Sessions Consulting told the Philipstown Planning Board. “The amended plan will reduce the performance season by three months and performances will take place from late May to mid-October.”
HVSF described the proposed new outdoor theater as being constructed “using a palette of natural materials with the soft textures and colors of stone, slate and wood. Designed with a sensitivity to preserving the area’s scenic views, the proposed structure features a slim profile that hugs the ground and utilizes a floating timber-framed roof whose shallow horizontal curves echo the ridgelines behind and around.
HVSF said the performance space will be the first purpose-built LEED (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design) Platinum theater in the country. Solar panels, rainwater capture, embedded carbon reduction, and other design elements would be incorporated to minimize climate impacts and better protect the theater from extreme weather and wear and tear. HVSF said the platinum designation is the highest level of LEED certification and shows the organization’s strong commitment to sustainability.
Davis McCallum, Artistic Director of HVSF, said, “With our new theater design, our project more fully reflects the uniqueness of this extraordinary place and continues the deep tradition of environmentalism in the Hudson Highlands. Philipstown has been our home for more than three decades, and we are grateful for the broad and strong community support as we move forward to the next stage of the SEQRA review process.
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