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To renovate or build? City asking public that question

The city is looking for input from the public as to what to do with Sutherland Theatre and a local elementary school gym.
The city is seeking input into whether public funds should go into renovating the current Sutherland Theatre space, the ownership of which would remain with the Horizon School Division, or if a new publicly-owned facility should be built. The same goes for the gymnasium in the present Humboldt Public School.

The city is looking for input from the public as to what to do with Sutherland Theatre and a local elementary school gym.
The City is trying to decide whether to fund renovations to the present facilities for community use while the school division retains ownership, or to build new ones which would be publicly owned. And they're holding public meetings to help make that decision.
"At the end of the day, it's a public facility, so they have a huge investment into this. We want to hear what they have to say," said Darrell Lessmeister, director of Community and Leisure Services for the City of Humboldt.
Recently, the Horizon School Division (HZSD) presented the City with their concept plans for the renovation of parts of the present Humboldt Collegiate Institute (HCI), including the area that houses Sutherland Theatre, into a new home for the Humboldt Public School (HPS). They have also presented the City with partnership opportunities around Sutherland Theatre and the gymnasium in the current HPS building.
In order to retain both of these spaces, it was noted in a City of Humboldt news release issued March 16, city and community funding would need to be secured. No money would be forthcoming from the HZSD for these projects.
The HZSD concept plans for their new building show an estimated $1.5 million is needed to renovate the existing Sutherland Theatre, both to bring it up to present building codes and ensure it will last into the future. That $1.5 million would cover mechanical upgrades estimated at $500,000, electrical upgrades estimated at $190,000, upgrades to seating, curtains, acoustic panels and ceiling, along with exterior and general repairs totaling over $564,000 and consultant and other fees and furnishings estimated at $313,710.
These costs, the city's news release notes, do not include dealing with existing parking concerns and a lack of lobby space in the facility.
Renovations to the gym at HPS are estimated to cost over $334,000. That amount includes over $77,000 for architectural work, $100,000 in mechanical work, and $90,000 for electrical work. Consultant, furnishing and other fees come in at over $66,000.
The City believes that renovations to this facility could complement usage of Glenn Hall Park next door with washroom and change facilities. It could also be available for community events and activities in the evening, the news release states.
That's a projected renovation cost of over $1.9 million between the two facilities which the city or community fund-raising would have to cover.
And while the city and community would put the money in to renovate these facilities, the HZSD "would prefer to maintain ownership of the facility and area footprint to allow for future expansion of the Public Elementary School facilities," the news release states. In that case, a lease agreement would need to be established and a Joint Operating Usage determined, the city noted.
On the other hand, a new performing arts facility owned by the City would cost an estimated $3 to $4 million. And to construct a stand-alone washroom and change facility at Glenn Hall Park is estimated to cost between $100,000 and $200,000.
Part of the City's conceptual plan for the Uniplex grounds includes a new multi-purpose facility which requires long-term planning and funding. A performing arts centre could possibly be part of that facility.
"The City recognizes the need for a performing arts centre in Humboldt, and the required renovations to keep Sutherland Theatre operations. However, the facility would still have an undetermined future given the existing age and timelines of an agreement," the City's release notes.
The HZSD has given the City of Humboldt just a few weeks to make their decision. The City has to confirm their commitment to renovating these spaces by the end of April, if that is the move the public wishes them to make.
To assist council in making this decision, a community meeting will be held Monday, April 4 from 7 p.m. to 9 p.m. at the Humboldt Seniors Hall.
The City has promised to present more information on this issue at the meeting.