TFAC unveils new master site plan

Published 4:50 pm Thursday, February 2, 2012

The master site plan for Tryon Fine Arts Center, designed by landscape architect Mark Byington. Phase I addresses accessibility, parking and maintenance issues in addition to creating a community park.

Phase I set to be complete March 2013
After years of study, the Tryon Fine Arts Center board of directors Thursday, Feb. 2 unveiled a master site and building plan that board members said will preserve and accentuate the natural beauty of the Melrose Ave. site and is community-focused and cost-effective.
The master plan includes a park on the site of three existing outbuildings that have become too costly to maintain. It also expands parking and improves access to the building while forming an outdoor amphitheater for concerts and plays. Phase II is a multi-purpose addition to the rear of the building that takes advantage of the mountain views. The new structure will provide a forum for smaller gatherings, art shows, music productions, community events and privately sponsored events.
Mark Byington of Innocenti & Webel Landscape Architects, who designed the master plan, said it takes maximum advantage of the hillside site as well as the rear garden and its mountain views.
“The plan creates a cohesive property and will support a wider range of community events,” Byington said.
Richard Webel, former managing partner of Innocenti & Webel and a volunteer consultant on the project said, “We believe this plan provides a setting that is both world-class and cost-effective.”
The 43-year-old organization has wrestled with numerous solutions regarding basic accessibility to the facility. There is a lack of handicapped parking and a very tight drop-off for patrons at the Melrose Avenue entrance. Patrons wishing to attend events in the 335-seat auditorium must often park behind the building in the neighboring lots and then climb the many steps to the front entrance of the facility.
Another issue the board of directors had to confront was the future of the center’s outbuildings. Although these houses were used creatively by affiliates in past years, they now serve only as storage facilities for two local arts organizations. Board members said major and costly improvements would be needed to keep them rentable.
“After many years and many plans for updating the Tryon Fine Arts Center, the board of directors is unified behind this master site plan. It is affordable and unique to the area. Best of all, it preserves and enhances the character of the neighborhood with passive green spaces and beautifully landscaped parks,” said Becky Barnes, TFAC board president.    

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