The Key City Theatre had some structural work completed last year surrounding the roofing system. Brian Clarkson photo.

Federal funding comes in for Key City Theatre upgrade

Funding supplements contributions from Columbia Basin Trust, RDEK for more building upgrades

The Key City Theatre has received $544,375 from the federal government, which will complement funding from other sources to aid with mechanical, electrical and equipment upgrades.

Galen Olstead, the managing director for the Key City Theatre, says other funding has already been secured, such as $400,000 from the Columbia Basin Trust and $150,000 from the Regional District of East Kootenay.

It’s the lead-up to the second and third phases of upgrades at the facility, which earlier underwent some much-needed roof repairs required to extend the life of the building.

Olstead says the next phases will include HVAC upgrades, electrical upgrades, fire suppression systems, lighting equipment upgrades.

“The idea is we’re putting a fair amount of money into upgrading the building so it has a long term future,” Olstead said. “The scope is 25 more years of use out of the facility.”

The school district owns the building and will be working with the Key City Theatre Society to come up with a work plan to map out the specifics of what needs to be done, Olstead said.

He added that everyone is hopeful the project will be completed by next summer.

The federal portion of the funding comes from the Canadian Heritage’s Canada Cultural Spaces Fund, which also contributed an additional $250,000 towards the Cranbrook and District Arts Council for their new home on Kootenay St.

Wayne Stetski, the MP for Kootenay-Columbia, says he wrote letters of support for both projects and advocated to Canada Heritage for the fudnding.

“The addition of arts and culture turns a place to live into a livable place,” said Stetski.

When moving from Vancouver to Cranbrook 29 years ago, Stetski said he swiftly came to appreciate the intimacy of venues such as the Key City Theatre and the Studio Stage Door.

“Every seat in the Key City Theatre is like a primo seat in a large centre like Vancouver, so we’re so lucky to have that here,” he said.

Stetski, who was formerly the Mayor of Cranbrook when the arts council was looking for a permanent home, also praised the funding for the organization.

“They’ve been looking for a home for a long time, so I’m really pleased they’re going to have a permanent home so they can offer up a lot of the outreach to the community that they wanted to do around holding different kinds of classes and training,” he said.

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