COLORADO SPRINGS — The icon of Colorado Springs has a new way to greet visitors.
"Today we dedicate a building that compliments the majesty of a great mountain, and we commence a new era in the history of this mountain and the history of Colorado Springs,” said Colorado Springs Mayor, John Suthers.
A celebration at 14,115-feet marked the official opening of the new Pikes Peak Summit Visitor Center.
The $65-million project is meant to enhance the awe and beauty from the top of Pikes Peak. The money had to be raised without tax dollars.
The crews who took on the build above 14,000 feet if elevation faced many challenges. The most difficult was the weather.
"The cold and everything, the wind the lighting, it's all been a great challenge up here, but to push through that to see this in the state it's in now is very rewarding," said G.E. Johnson Construction, Superintendent, Robert Clough.
The architectural intrigue built to withstand winds up to 230 miles an hour.
Governor Jared Polis got up early to be part of the event. He thinks he was 11 or 12 the last time he was on top of Pikes Peak. He says the new visitors center is an important part of the “only 14er” most people will summit.
"The architecture, the look, the convenience, the feel are world-class. and that's important because this is a world-class site. This is a national treasure," said Gov. Polis.
Along with the Pikes Peak Region, he believes the draw of the iconic mountain is an asset to all of Colorado.
The visitor center is open, but there is a caution about some finish work still happening. The biggest remaining job is paving the parking area later this summer. For now, visitors driving up the Pikes Peak Highway have to take a shuttle the last couple of miles to the top.