The newest City of Lethbridge facility opened its doors to the community on May 28, 2016 with the grand opening of the Multicultural Centre. As an integral part of the downtown neighbourhood, the Multicultural Centre is home to the Southern Alberta Ethnic Association (SAEA) and will promote inclusion and diversity within the community while creating a hub for multicultural events and activities.
The building, located at 421 6 avenue south, is the City’s former downtown Fire Hall. The site is now home to SAEA staff and will serve their membership of over 32 ethno-cultural groups on a day-to-day basis. The Multicultural Centre also has banquet facilities available for public rental that can accommodate groups of up to 275 people.
”Our government is committed to ensuring municipalities have the resources they need to create strong, dynamic communities for all Albertans. We are proud to support infrastructure investments, such as the Multicultural Centre in Lethbridge which embraces the diversity that makes Alberta a great place to live,” says Danielle Larivee, Minister of Municipal Affairs.
The project, which began in April 2015, more than doubled the size of the building, expanding the former fire hall from 6000 square feet to over 13,000 square feet. In addition, the existing parking lot was resurfaced and provides a total of 48 parking stalls. To make the site more energy efficient, the building and parking lot are both equipped with LED lighting. Rooms throughout the building are wired for audio visual equipment.
“We are very proud of the Multicultural Centre and are pleased we can partner with the Southern Alberta Ethnic Association to have them as the operators of this new space. I know they will create a warm and welcoming place for people of all cultural backgrounds,” says Mayor Chris Spearman. “It is also a wonderful step forward in our continued efforts to create a vibrant and inviting downtown.”
The newly designed Multicultural Centre uses the existing fire hall interior walls wherever possible. This helped incorporate the history of the building and created cost savings for the project. The facility will be available for both public and private functions providing a dining hall with bar and kitchen facilities, space for offices, meetings and drop-ins in addition to other activities such as dance rehearsals.
“The SAEA will continue to bring together diverse cultural groups in the community to foster awareness and understanding from a Centre built for this purpose. We now have a facility we are proud to call home and I sincerely hope with the help of community members and businesses this will become a place we can all be proud of,” says Surya Acharya, SAEA President.
This $4.3 million project was funded through a Municipal Sustainability Initiative (MSI) grant from the Government of Alberta.