COLUMBIA FALLS, Mont. — After being lost to the Sprague Fire last year, Glacier National Park’s Sperry Chalet is now in the process of being resurrected -- and there's plenty of enthusiasm in the Flathead to rebuild it.
"People talk lovingly of when they were there as kids, when they went with their parents , when they've taken their children or loved ones," said Evelyn Drews, a Glacier employee who was at the park the day it burned.
Sperry lovers, as Liz Hallas of Anderson Hallas Architects refers to them, got a chance to meet three of the architects in the design team Tuesday night.
The Colorado-based architects were hired by Glacier National Park and the National Park Service to lead the redesign efforts.
"We're just thrilled to be a part of this project. We see it as a legacy project both for the community and the national park system as a whole," Hallas said.
Anderson Hallas Architects are no strangers to high altitude architecture -- nor to the Montana backcountry. They spent 13 years designing the Many Glacier Hotel.
But Hallas says the Sperry redesign will have its own set of challenges.
"Certainly Many Glacier had constraints about the snow and the seasonal access, but Sperry has even more with a 6-mile hike to the site and limited access to the construction materials," she said.
Hallas says they'll try to recreate the rustic experience and retain as much of the historic character and original stone walls as possible.
Drews says she appreciates the National Park Service for letting the public have input in the redesign.
"I think it's important for people to be able to voice their ideas, their opinions of what they would like to see built. The park belongs to all of us," she said.
Four design concepts have been laid out for the Sperry Chalet by the National Park Service.
Hallas disclosed in her presentation that so far they’ve received 72 comments from people in 20 different states, and the concepts that call for restoring the chalet “as close to as it was” and restoring the chalet “in place, but modernized,” have received the most interest.
The public scoping period for the design concepts ends April 2 and can be found on the National Park Service website.