Philanthropist couple donate performing arts centre to City of Kamloops | iNFOnews | Thompson-Okanagan's News Source

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Philanthropist couple donate performing arts centre to City of Kamloops

Ron Fawcett (centre left) and deputy mayor Mike O'Reilly (centre right) cutting the ribbon at the newly-opened Kelson Hall on Nov. 28, 2022.
Image Credit: FACEBOOK/City of Kamloops

Developers behind Kamloops's largest ever housing project have donated a new theatre space to the City.

Ron and Rae Fawcett purchased a former Telus building for Kelson Hall "a few years ago," intending to open the space alongside the larger proposed Centre for the Arts, according to a City of Kamloops news release.

At 330 St. Paul St., Kelson Hall will be the official home for the Kamloops Symphony Orchestra and the Western Canada Theatre now that the Kelson Group owners have donated the facility.

“Rae and I are delighted to be able to provide this building. We have been dedicated to furthering the performing arts in Kamloops for many years. This is only the first step to make sure our community groups will thrive and create a need and a demand for the next step, which will be performing stages so our community can attend and enjoy their performances," Ron Fawcett said in the news release.

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The former Telus building includes office space, along with the 1,900 square-foot, 134-seat Lori Marchand Theatre and the 1,800 square-foot Bruce Dunn Hall for performances and rehearsals.

“The thanks we will get will be the citizens of Kamloops enjoying and prospering in the use of this fine facility," Fawcett said.

The Fawcetts own Kelson Group and own several apartments and developments in Kamloops and other cities. The company is behind the city's largest ever development City Gardens, which will include six new buildings and hundreds of new housing units downtown.

The City didn't say in the release how much the facility cost the philanthropist couple to purchase and develop.

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“The City is so pleased and grateful for the generosity of receiving this fully renovated and accessible building from the Fawcetts,” corporate services director Kathy Humphrey said in the release. “As we add this building into the City’s asset inventory, we will continue to work with the arts community to ensure that the building reaches its full potential to provide much-needed rehearsal and performance space in the community.”

The proposed Kamloops Centre for the Arts would be just blocks away from Kelson Hall at the corner of 4 Avenue and Seymour Street.

A 2020 referendum to approve borrowing millions of dollars to fund the project was cancelled because of the COVID-19 pandemic, but the City hasn't written off the plan.

It's not clear when a new referendum will be held but arts facility, once estimated to cost $70 million, ballooned to $90 million when the costs were last estimated in 2021.

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To contact a reporter for this story, email Levi Landry or call 250-819-3723 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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