Conceptual drawings of a new building that’s being proposed for Scottsdale’s McCormick-Stillman Railroad Park were unveiled to the public for the first time Saturday morning.
The 10,000-square-foot building is being designed to house the park’s three resident model railroad clubs, who are on site to educate the public and entertain train enthusiasts with their varied collections of model trains.
“We want the building to enhance the experience. We want it to have a park pavilion feel,” said Diane Jacobs, an architect with the Phoenix-based architectural firm Holly Street Studio, as she revealed a modular design rendering inspired by railroad architecture.
Scottsdale officials earmarked $2.4 million of city funds for the proposed project in November 2006. Preliminary cost estimates call for $3 million to make the project happen, said Bob McNair, senior recreation coordinator for the railroad park.
McNair said the city is partnering on the project with the Scottsdale Railroad and Mechanical Society — a nonprofit organization charged with providing financial assistance and technical expertise to the railroad park.
The organization, in conjunction with the railroad clubs, are aiming to raise the rest of the funds privately.
Last winter, Holly Street Studio architects were retained by the city to get the design process under way.
Jacobs said the design team’s goal is threefold: to create a new sustainably-designed building for the city park, to give a new home to the railroad clubs and ultimately create a place where people will come to celebrate railroading and model building.
The three clubs — composed of the Paradise and Pacific Railroad Club , the Scottsdale Model Railroad Club and the Sun N’ Sand Railroad Club — are currently crammed into a building on the park’s grounds known as the Bunk House, Jacobs said.
The modular design of the new building, which is expected to be situated southeast of the parking lot near the Pullman car, will give each club 1,300 square feet of individual display space and three separate workshop areas, Jacobs said.
The building’s setup is designed to give visitors a chance to get an appreciation for the different scales of model trains, especially when put into contrast to the larger trains that circulate through the park, Jacobs added.
“I hope this project comes to pass,” said Russ Mosser, a member of the Paradise and Pacific Railroad Club.
“We are here to entertain the public and set up displays that will make them want to come back,” said Mosser, referring to the estimated 750,000 visitors he said frequent the park each year.
Some railroad club members offered some constructive criticism to the designers.
“I want to see it (the building) look more like an engine house,” said Wayne Waltrip, a member of the Scottsdale model railroad club, who suggested restyling the design of the proposed building’s doors.
“We will make anything work,” Waltrip said. “It’s an improvement over what we have.”
“I think the end result will be beneficial to the city of Scottsdale,” said Will Schuckert, who lives near the park.
The next public viewing of the renderings will be Oct. 11 and 12 at the park.
Jacobs said the goal is to have the designs before the city’s development review board by June. If the plans are approved and remaining funds are raised, the building could make its debut as early as the summer of 2010, said project manager Elaine Mercado.