In response to the article (“Stewart Beach eyesore becoming a money pit, officials say,” The Daily News, March 24): I recall when the pavilion first opened. It set the stage for many events and activities through the years.

After 37 years, the structure is showing the toll of being front and center to salt spray from the Gulf, not to mention some poorly conceived renovations over the years. The concrete is spalling from rust jacking of the steel reinforcement. This is all addressable.

The decision now is how the community looks to address it. Repair or replace?

Galveston has a long history of renovation and restoration. Prior to the community embracing our historic architecture, we demolished many structures. Structures we often lament losing now. The architecture was in need of repairs or it didn’t suit the design tastes and sensibilities of the times.

I don’t profess Stewart Beach Pavilion is a magnificent architectural example, but it has attributes. Why not embrace those attributes and build upon them instead of creating an entirely new structure?

As a restoration architect in Galveston for 40 years, I’ve been faced with many challenges. The historic buildings have all required entirely new mechanical, electrical and plumbing systems. The same consideration the pavilion needs. All of the old buildings have suffered structurally as well.

I’ve dealt with minor structural issues and even catastrophic collapse on more than one occasion, but the buildings were repaired.

The pavilion is basically a series of structural concrete cube frames in need of repairs. Look to the Pleasure Pier. It suffered the same issues, but it has been brought back to life. All buildings as they age require updates to address changing needs and codes.

We all talk about recycling for the good of the environment. A building is probably the single biggest recyclable everyone regularly encounters. There’s a tremendous waste of energy required in demolishing a building along with disposal of the materials.

A building has an extremely large carbon footprint. After demolition, a new structure must be constructed to takes its place. Why not take the opportunity to create something bold and new, renovate and recycle the pavilion?

Many architects and designers avoid working with the old because they see it as constrictive. It’s always easier to be creative without limitations but challenge the design team to work with the existing structure. Show the city and the country how to create something truly dynamic while taking advantage of recycling a property.

It might work to everyone’s benefit allowing portions of the building to be renovated and additions constructed while areas remain in use avoiding the loss of services while the renovation is undertaken.

It’s time for the park board to get creative embracing the idea of reuse and transform. It might even go a long way in boosting the idea of Galveston as an environmentally conscious destination.

David Watson lives in Galveston.

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(6) comments

Don Schlessinger

Great to see someone with an imagination and the know how to make a restoration like this worth worthwhile to look into. Thank you Mr. Watson.

Jarvis Buckley

Throw enough taxpayers money at it you can make it beautiful!

Don Schlessinger

Well when you think about spending 25 to 30 million for a new building I would rather investigate reconstructing the old one. Maybe you haven't noticed all the 100 year homes on the island that have had the same treatment.

mark buntyn

Our city(environment and budget) is better with people like you Mr Watson.

domenico nuckols

Give the old boy a make over

Michael Basham

Just because the Park Board (or City) thinks it has unlimited resources doesn't mean it is productive to simply discard or tear down existing investment. Restoration and upgrade would seem more practical. And, let's face it. Whatever exists there is going to have to continue to withstand the relentless assault by the elements. Sometimes an existing structure can even instruct you on remedying vulnerabilities. Restore and Improve. Take care of the structural issues, then maybe let one of the muralists have at it. Unlike some locations, that might be a swell place for some "Art"?

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