- Associated Press - Saturday, October 31, 2015

CORTEZ, Colo. (AP) - Officials at Mesa Verde National Park are looking for someone to take over the old visitor center at Mesa Verde’s Far View Center after it was abandoned in 2013 in favor of a new facility at the park’s entrance.

Suggestions include using the Far View Center as a performance hall, conference space, restaurant or Native American cultural center.

The park doesn’t have the money to run both the Far View Center and the new visitors and research center.

Park superintendent Cliff Spencer said officials have spent four years trying to find a use for it, but they may have to consider tearing it down.

“Right now, we’re looking at leasing it. Whatever the alternative, it will have to pay for itself,” he said.

Federal officials are urging national parks to eliminate unnecessary buildings to save energy and reduce maintenance costs.

Former park archaeologist Linda Towle said the building is important because of its history.

Far View Visitor Center was built in 1966 as part of a movement to modernize national parks. It was designed by Denver architects Joseph and Louise Marlowe, according to the Cortez Journal (https://tinyurl.com/on9mp8q).

The 10,500-square-foot building was designed to be a round theater. Later, it was remodeled into the park’s main visitor’s center.

Its round shape was inspired by nearby kivas, which were religious buildings for the Ancestral Pueblo people who made Mesa Verde their home for over 700 years in cliff dwellings before they mysteriously disappeared, possibly because of drought.

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Information from: Cortez Journal, https://www.cortezjournal.com/

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