‘Not too ambitious’ arts centre feasible for Lacombe: report

Building an acoustically excellent, but “not too ambitious” performing arts centre in Lacombe is feasible, according to a preliminary study.

Building an acoustically excellent, but “not too ambitious” performing arts centre in Lacombe is feasible, according to a preliminary study.

A needs assessment and marketing analysis done by Lamont Management Inc. concludes the city could use space specifically designed for music, theatre and dance.

The new performing arts centre must be acoustically sound, flexible and, “to ease people’s concerns that a ‘white elephant’ might be created, not too ambitious,” says the study.

It advises on choosing a design that allows for future expansion of music practice rooms and fine arts studios. The consultant’s report also recommends more homework for the project’s proponents, including investigating potential partnerships with the Wolf Creek School Division, Canadian University College, and Family and Community Support Services.

The suggestions — made after consulting with local theatre, dance music and visual arts groups — fall in line with what the Lacombe Performing Arts Centre Foundation has believed all along, said Grant Harder, the group’s president.

“It substantiates our thinking that if it’s done properly it can be affordable and sustainable.”

The foundation secured funding for the feasibility study from a local couple and the City of Lacombe.

Harder said it cost less than $10,000.

The second stage, involving detailed plans for a facility, is bound to be more costly.

But Harder said a lot of groundwork must be done first. The most important thing is finding suitable land, which he hopes can be donated to the foundation.

The group is already discussing forming partnerships with various groups in the community, including the school division and the college.

Harder said, “Maybe we can tie in with another organization to help us get there.”

While no time lines have been set, he believes the newly declared City of Lacombe is ready for a performing arts centre, or “we might want to consider calling it a community cultural centre so it can mean more things to more people.”

Harder believes the natural progression is to build sports facilities, such as hockey and curling rinks and a swimming pool, then look at further enhancing the community through arts and culture.

“Lacombe is such a culturally viable community, the demand is certainly here,” said Harder, who plays with the local Flat Iron Jazz group.

His band and others are performing at a semi-formal fundraising dinner and dance for the foundation at 6 p.m. April 14 at the Lacombe Memorial Centre. Tickets are $55.

For information, please call 403-350-9958.

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