The interior of Lacombe’s Trinity Lutheran Church, which could be converted to a performing arts centre. (Contributed photo).

Lacombe church retro-fit proposed as new performing arts centre

Lacombe’s many artists need a place to perform, says project proponent

A “exciting” proposal to turn a local church into a performing arts centre is being considered by Lacombe city council.

The Lacombe Performing Arts Centre Foundation has been trying for years to get a dedicated concert/theatre space for the community.

Foundation president Grant Harder believes Lacombe has a “disproportionately large” community of musicians and artists and it’s high time these talented residents have a non-denominational place to perform.

His group has investigated many ways of getting a performing arts centre off the ground — from building from scratch, to partnering with community groups.

Because the city and province aren’t currently in a financial position to support a new build, and because a partnership project didn’t work out (a supportive local daycare was shut down), Harder believes the best bet would be to purchase the Trinity Lutheran Church on C & E Trail and retro-fit it into a performing arts centre.

The church, which is being sold because of a decreasing membership, already has great acoustics as well as a raised nave, which can be easily transformed into a stage, Harder told Lacombe city council.

There are no pews, since the congregation sits on chairs. He estimates the renovation would cost about $25,000.

“It clicks all the boxes… it’s in a central location and most importantly, there is room for an expansion,” said Harder.

The church now holds 150 people, but he would like to eventually turn it into a 350-seat theatre.

Harder doesn’t want to reveal the church’s listing price yet, since negotiations are underway, and he doesn’t yet know how much an expansion would cost.

His group is already looking into whether government grants can be found.

Meanwhile, Lacombe city council has given no timeline for a decision, but Harder hopes to hear something by the end of the year.

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