New funding advances Yates renovations

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    City Council approved advancing improvements to the Yates Memorial Centre on Nov. 14, 2016, after receiving $3.5 million from the Federal government’s Canada Cultural Spaces Fund.

    The City’s current Capital Improvement Program (CIP) includes a Yates renewal project totaling $9.9 million. Today council approved an amendment to the CIP that will expand this project to $13.4 million and advances parts of the Yates enhancement project that weren’t scheduled to be completed until 2021.

    “This new money lets us do more work in a quicker timeframe,” says Mayor Chris Spearman. “This facility is a valued part of our community. It’s a place to gather with our friends and family and be entertained and inspired by the performing arts. Enhancing this space is a huge asset to our city.”

    The renovations will increase performance capabilities and improve audience experience. The work will include upgraded mechanical and electrical systems, a fire sprinkler system, performance audio/visual systems, acoustic treatments, upgraded finishes like paint, flooring and ceilings, catwalk relocation, dressing room revisions, seating replacements and roof replacement. The new dollars will support barrier free washroom upgrades, the addition of elevators, signage and a concrete floor under the auditorium.

    “These are some amazing upgrades and improvements that will make the Yates more functional and enjoyable for everyone,” says Councillor Jeff Carlson. “Making the space accessible, comfortable and integrating technology will improve the experience for audiences and performers alike.”

    Some renovation work has already started and will continue without impacting facility operations until September 2017. At that time, the Yates is anticipated to close for a six month period (September 2017 – April 2018) to complete the work within the theatre spaces. Yates user groups have been informed of this closure so they can plan for alternative venues.

    The Yates was constructed in 1966 and has served as the home of the Lethbridge Musical Theatre, New West Theatre, school performances and dance festivals for many years. In 1990, the 180 seat Sterndale Bennett Theatre was added to the facility.

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