A plan to turn the D Company Armouries building into a community hub has gotten some major community backing. Rotary Club of Grande Prairie members have almost unanimously voted to pledge $1.8 million to the project.

The building across from Swanavon School was built in 1942 as a drill hall, and its last major renovation was in 1990. Commanding Officer of the Grande Prairie Army Cadets Scott Hagarty says a modern upgrade is desperately needed.

“We have completely outgrown the building. It does not meet our needs anymore. If we could get a new building, it would give us more opportunity to engage youth in Grande Prairie at no cost.”

In addition to the army cadets, the air and EMS cadets also use the hall, along with YMCA North programs and the Play Zone Summer Camp. Plans for the community hub would make it a centralized place for other not-for-profits and organizations, as well as the community overall.

“YMCA North has already committed to providing its Alternative Suspension program,” says Rotarian and project lead Andy Stewart. “In addition to youth programs, we hope community associations and other not-for-profit groups will make use of it as well. This is about promoting strong and vibrant communities.”

What’s proposed is to extend the building to the north by roughly 21 metres and east by around 8.5 metres. That would create room for bigger washrooms, storage, meetings rooms, classroom space and a full kitchen.

The total cost of the project is pegged at $3.1 million, which means another $1.3 million still needs to be raised through donations, partnerships, and grants. The Rotary Club of Calgary has teamed up with the United Way Calgary and Area and the City of Calgary to build seven community hubs in that city over five years.