Options for a new Kelowna Performing Arts Centre range up to $62 million | iNFOnews | Thompson-Okanagan's News Source

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Options for a new Kelowna Performing Arts Centre range up to $62 million

A rough drawing of a proposed new Performing Arts Centre for Kelowna.
Image Credit: Submitted/City of Kelowna
October 24, 2019 - 4:48 PM

Kelowna is getting its first glimpse at a possible new Performing Arts Centre, and two options to replace Kelowna Community Theatre will have the main theatre either stay roughly the same size or grow by about 350 seats.

A report going to Kelowna city council Monday actually includes options for an 850, 1,000 or 1,200-seat main theatre but focuses on the largest and smallest choices.

The current theatre has 853 seats. Both options call for an additional 250-seat studio theatre as part of the facility. The existing Black Box Theatre has 125 seats.

The smaller version is estimated to cost $43.6 million, versus $61.7 for the larger option.

The report says the existing theatre site, along with land that is being subdivided off from the former RCMP building, is large enough for the theatre.

While there is no money set aside for such a project, the key first step is to determine the appropriate size, the report from Colliers Project Leaders states.

“Due to the variety of programming, a multi-purpose theatre requires an intimacy which will be sacrificed for size if there is not careful consideration of the design issues,” the report states.

As such theatres get bigger than 400 seats, intimacy starts to be sacrificed. If the theatre is made wider for more seats, so too must the stage and that affects things like the height of the stage.

It recommends that a balcony be part of any larger seating option.

It says the current theatre is at the end of its life and the design is “dated, without balconies, boxes and other facilities which put the performer and audience in close proximity,” does not have good acoustics for music events and does not meet current accessibility codes.

The report makes a number of recommendations for “next steps,” such as seeking senior government funding, doing market research and drafting a detailed financial analysis. It does not list public input as one of its recommendations.

The report also included a market analysis showing competing venues. It notes that Kamloops, which is considering a new performing arts centre of its own, is too far away to be considered a competitor. 

There is no timeline for completion.

The report can be viewed here. It starts on page 67.

To contact a reporter for this story, email Rob Munro or call 250-808-0143 or email the editor. You can also submit photos, videos or news tips to the newsroom and be entered to win a monthly prize draw.

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