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New performing arts centre in need of storage space

The new performing arts centre at St. John Paul II Catholic School is missing one thing. It doesn’t have a place to store sets, props or equipment.

Catholic School Board Chair Michael Ouellette and Grande Prairie Live Theatre Manager Wayne Ayling have asked the City of Grande Prairie for $1.4 million to build a storage space. Ayling says there wasn’t an option to build one when the theatre was first designed.

“The Catholic School Board has supported the community by creating this wonderful new state of the art facility. Unfortunately, the rules of Alberta education prevented the school district from building a storage facility. The reality is that this is a wonderful multi-use facility without any storage.”

The idea for the storage space was first brought up by the two parties in 2015 but Ayling says they were told it didn’t fit into the budget at that time. Currently, groups are storing things at GPLT’s storage facility but it has also run out of space at this point.

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Ayling says it’s important to have a storage facility on site because it would help save money in the long run.

“It becomes cost-effective for the community to use this facility. Realistically the high schools around are looking for space. They build a set at some cost and if they don’t have a storage facility then it gets thrown away, so we want to be able to provide storage for reusable items. That can save users money in the short-term and long-term.”

Both parties entered into an agreement to have GPLT run and manage the centre out of the school. The 350 seat facility will be used for performances, banquets, meetings and conferences.

City staff have been asked to look at whether the cost of the project could be reduced. That will be brought back to a future meeting.

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