Enhanced lighting combined with audio that tells American Indian history, would not delay the opening of The Passage water attraction because any changes to the structure could be incorporated with ongoing repair work, a Chattanooga architect said Friday.
Architect Vance Travis, president of TWH Architects Inc., said electrical and lighting work could easily be placed, allowing for a multimedia experience either now or later.
“I think we can move forward,” Mr. Travis said.
Mr. Travis met with the Chattanooga Downtown Redevelopment Corp. to update board members on the status of ongoing work at The Passage, which was closed in April because water was running through cracks that developed in the structure.
The development board voted 5-0 to allow Mr. Travis to seek bids on design for construction. But city officials also talked about using the construction time as a way to improve the American Indian exhibit.
Councilwoman Sally Robinson told the board she thought the time was ripe to add lighting that highlighted art work adorning the walls of The Passage and putting in audio that would tell of American Indian history.
Dan Johnson, chief of staff for Mayor Ron Littlefield, said he wondered if there might be delays to opening the attraction by next summer if other consultants were required.
“I like the idea,” Mr. Johnson said. “It would bring some people in during dinnertime.”
Mr. Travis said he did not think it would delay his work.
Questions also arose about funding for any additions.
“This body doesn’t have the money to pay for it,” Assistant City Attorney Mike McMahon said.
The City Council approved up to $1.5 million to pay for the project. Ms. Robinson said several groups are working on getting funding together to pay for the creative aspect of an enhanced Passage, such as paying for an American Indian speaker for the recording. Finding money for the technical aspects was ongoing as well, she said.
Board member Julian Bell said he wanted to meet with the architect next week and go over details of what is being considered.
“I just want to make sure, and this board makes sure, we know what we are getting into,” he said.