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Finishing touches being put on new Bezanson community centre

In just over two weeks, the doors of the Bezanson Regional Community Cultural Centre will officially open to the public. Now called the Knelsen Centre, thanks to a $250,000 naming rights sponsorship from Knelsen Sand & Gravel, the building should be ready for September 1st.

Construction on the 16,000 square foot expansion to the existing hall in Bezanson began in September 2017. Capital campaign manager Laura LaValley says she’s proud to have the project almost complete.

“The plans were put into place probably five years ago by some of our volunteers, and to see this structure stand in our community is pretty exciting. I think there’s a lot of people that are going to benefit from it for years to come and we just want to give as many people an opportunity to be a part of building it.”

The expansion was tendered at $4 million, and has been supported by the County of Grande Prairie to the tune of $2.19 million. When shovels hit the dirt, the capital campaign was short roughly $400,000, but LaValley says the cost has since gone up to $4.5 million.

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“There’s always a few overages and things that are unexpected that come up during construction,” she explains. “We had a few things that were outside of that tendered project that were things that we just needed to finish up in order to make the facility operational; things like our gym floor and our commercial kitchen equipment.”

The capital campaign team is still working to fill a now $340,000 gap, and LaValley says there are still many ways people can contribute, either corporately or personally. She stresses the importance of having a multipurpose facility like the Knelsen Centre in the hamlet of Bezanson.

“Currently our school gym is a little bit small, and we’re able to offer a full-size gymnasium, bleachers for spectators; it’s just going to be amazing for the kids in our community particularly, but also just a place for the whole community to come together and celebrate and learn.”

The basketball and volleyball courts can double as a banquet hall, and the upgrades include a commercial kitchen and sports change rooms. There have already been bookings made, and LaValley says they’re seeing a lot of interest.

Anyone wanting to learn more about sponsorships is asked to contact her at 780-814-3113. A grand opening is scheduled for October 13th.

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