An aerial view of the new Lakeside Activities Center at Black Butte Ranch. photo provided
An aerial view of the new Lakeside Activities Center at Black Butte Ranch. photo provided

Visitors and residents at Black Butte Ranch have a brand-new pool facility and family activities center in which to play and a new Lakeside Bistro restaurant in which to enjoy a meal, a drink, and perhaps the most spectacular view in Sisters Country.

BBR property owners voted to fund $11.5 million in improvements in October 2013, including a new Lodge swimming pool (80 percent larger than the previously existing pool), an outdoor hot tub, new bistro and retail area with outdoor dining and poolside service, locker rooms, fitness facility, recreation center and playground.

Construction began last fall and the project was completed on budget and on time, opening June 27.

THA Architecture designed the buildings, and Kirby Nagelhout Construction handled the construction.

"There's always surprises in a construction project, but we had a good team," said Scott Huntsman, BBR CEO. "We got a project that exceeded expectations."

Huntsman said that the Ranch was overdue for this kind of renovation in order to keep up with an evolving market.

"We look for it to really revitalize the heart of the Ranch - bring people back to this being the center of the Ranch," Huntsman said. "It's the most beautiful spot on the whole property."

Huntsman notes that the design was mindful of the quality of the site.

"The number-one feature is the way the architect aligned the buildings to maximize the views," he said. He also commented on the "extraordinary use of wood and concrete" that makes the buildings look and feel modern yet also warm and welcoming. The activities center/craft room is deliberately left with a raw finish - with exposed OSB (Oriented Strand Board) - to give it the feel of a family rec room.

"The idea is that people can come in and just hang out as a family," Huntsman said.

The Lakeside Bistro is now one of three restaurants on the property, each with a distinct culinary identity. Massive windows offer a view of the Cascades and can be opened entirely to allow passage out onto a deck. The bistro deck and the pool deck are designed to "look very seamless but function separately," Huntsman noted. The restaurant is open to the public, while the pool facilities and fitness room are reserved for owners and guests.

Landscape work is still in progress and staff is still getting oriented to the new facilities.

"We're opening at one of our busiest times (right before the Fourth of July weekend) so it's about getting things dialed in," Huntsman said.

The Ranch is hosting music on the lawn near the Lakeside Activities Center every other Wednesday evening at 6 p.m. They'll host a Patrick Lamb concert on August 18. The Art at the Ranch event is on hiatus this year but will come back in 2016.

Huntsman enjoys showing off the new facilities, pointing out small details that make for a classy whole.

"We're proud of how it turned out," he said. "We really appreciate the support all the homeowners have given."