Parks, Recreation and Historic Preservation

Press Release

September 20, 2007

Eileen Larrabee

New York State Office of Parks, Recreation and Historic Preservation Announce Changes to Saratoga Spa Roosevelt Bath House

Patrons To Be Offered Option Of Directly Heated Mineral Water:

Additional Major Renovations Planned For Bath And Spa Complex

New York State Office of Parks, Recreation and Historic Preservation (OPRHP) Commissioner Carol Ash today announced that major changes are in store for the historic Roosevelt I Bathhouse in Saratoga Spa State Park. With the selection of Delaware North Companies Parks & Resorts, a $450,000 renovation plan for the Roosevelt I Bathhouse is slated for 2008.

"The famed baths of Saratoga have played an important part in this region's rich history," said Ash. "I am confident that improvements to the Roosevelt Bathhouse and future capital investments in the Gideon Putnam Hotel will return these facilities to the destination spots they once were. We look forward to our partnership with Delaware North Parks & Resorts and anticipate that their investments in the park will add greatly to the patron experience."

"Saratoga Springs derives its name and identity from the mineral springs and baths that have played such a critical role in the history, economy and culture of this region. I am pleased that by working together we can announce a solution that renews our commitment to that rich tradition, restores the baths to their former prominence and reinvigorates all the assets of Saratoga Spa State Park as a destination for tourists from around the world. I thank the Office of Parks, Recreation and Historic Preservation for addressing this issue and look forward to future improvements at the Park," said Senate Majority Leader Joseph L. Bruno.

"We look forward to initiating our improvement plans for both the hotel and spa. In addition, we will add key interpretive elements to ensure the history and culture of the park, hotel and spa are effectively communicated to all who visit," stated Kevin Kelly, president, Delaware North Companies Parks & Resorts. "Our goal is to ensure that visitors to the Gideon Putnam Hotel & Conference Center and Roosevelt Spa will take away a deep appreciation for the special place they have visited."

Among the most notable changes being planned for 2008 will be the option for patrons to choose the heating method for their mineral bath experience. Four new water heaters will be installed at the Roosevelt I Bathhouse, providing an option for patrons to choose a bath consisting completely of Saratoga's famed mineral water. For those patrons who prefer the current heating method of blending cold mineral water with hot tap water, that option will remain.

The decision to offer bathing options follows the completion of a report on the mineral water by local engineering firm Malcolm Pirnie. The review was initiated following reports in the New York Post last spring regarding the contents of mineral baths being offered at Saratoga Spa State Park. The Post noted, correctly, that the cold mineral water was being mixed with heated tap water. The Malcolm Pirnie engineering report concluded that while blended heating of the water results in a bath with less mineral content than a bath comprised of directly heated mineral water, it does provide a more effervescent bath.

"Although the differences are slight, by providing both heating methods of the mineral water, patrons will be able to make a choice based on whether they prefer larger quantities of minerals or more effervescence," said Ash.

Earlier this summer, OPRHP announced that Delaware North Parks & Resort had been chosen to operate the Gideon Putnam Hotel and Conference Center and the Roosevelt Baths and Spa. Contract negotiations are in progress and are expected to be completed within a few weeks. Upon approval of the contract by the Attorney General and the state Comptroller, Delaware North Parks & Resorts will assume operation of the facilities on or about January 1, 2008. The renovation of the bathhouse is slated for the first phase of capital investments Delaware North has agreed to make in the leased properties

In addition to the new water heaters, preliminary plans for the $450,000 renovation of the Roosevelt Bathhouse include renovation and upgrades to treatment rooms, including new furniture, window treatments, and wall covering; complete lobby refurbishment with new interior designs and décor; new lobby and hallway furniture; coffee, tea, and lunch services; expanded retail services; and the installation of a relaxation/solitude room including a water feature.

The presentation will be themed around the historic mineral waters of Saratoga, with an emphasis on the unique mineral bath experience offered at the Roosevelt Baths & Spa. In addition to new food services, the spa will offer an expanded menu of treatment services and package experiences

Ash also highlighted Delaware North's environmental GreenPath® program and the opportunities it presents to expand energy conservation, environmental sustainability, and other eco-friendly initiatives at the concessions in the park.

All of the renovations to the historic Roosevelt Bathhouse will be conducted in accordance with the Secretary of the Interior's Standards for Historic Preservation to ensure that the significant architectural and historical features of the building are both preserved and highlighted. The Gideon Putnam Hotel and the Roosevelt Bathhouse are National Historic Landmarks.

Delaware North Parks and Resort's winning bid proposal also includes plans for a multi-million dollar investment in the Gideon Putnam Hotel and Conference Center. Among the many changes to the hotel will be enhancements to guest rooms, extensive upgrades to public areas, including the lobby, and a new presentation of the dining experience for both hotel guests and the general public. Details of the major renovations anticipated for the hotel will be announced following completion of the contract negotiations between OPRHP and Delaware North.

Ash also announced that later this year OPRHP will initiate the development of a comprehensive Master Plan for Saratoga Spa State Park. Creation of the Master Plan, which is a formal process requiring an environmental impact statement, detailed studies and public input will identify future capital investments needed to rehabilitate and upgrade recreational facilities throughout the park.