The Key City Theatre in Cranbrook is one of the beneficiaries of some arts and culture largesse from Columbia Basin Trust.
Columbia Basin Trust is helping 12 arts facilities in the region renovate, relocate or upgrade with nearly $830,000 in support through its new Arts and Culture Venue Grants. Key City Theatre Society is receiving $487,015 to upgrade the theatre’s roof structure to provide lasting access to a safe, fully functional, live performance space.
There are concerns about the structural integrity of the roof trusses, especially in the context of roof snow loads and equipment hanging from the roof as part of Key City Theatre operations or performances.The theatre was built in 1992 but utilizes structural elements from Mount Baker Secondary School that date back to 1952.
“So the plan is we’re going to remediate them, we’re going to fix them by introducing additional structural elements to the existing trusses which will upgrade their strength,” said Galen Olstead, Managing Director for the Key City Theatre. “I think the idea is that there’s a long term vision for the existing facility, so it takes it from a few years of life and projecting ahead to 25/30 years of useful life out the facility.”
The total project is expected to cost just under $800,000, which is being supplemented by funding from the Southeast Kootenay School District, which has committed $150,000, and the City of Cranbrook is chipping in $115,000 with the possibility of more dollars on the way.
“One of the big things that we’re really trying to reinforce is that it is a partnership,” said Olstead. “The CBT part of it is amazing, but the school district and the city coming forward is also a pretty significant part of it.”
Olstead hopes to take advantage of the slower season in the summer to get a jump on the work, but the project could be extended into 2019 depending on various details that haven’t been hammered out yet.
The theatre building sees a lot of use that includes entertainment performances and students and staff from Mount Baker Secondary School.
“Currently the [Key City Theatre] hosts over 45,000 attendees per year, with over 100 events,” said Olstead. “This venue has had a significant impact on regional arts and culture over its 25-year history, and through this project we anticipate the continuation and growth of these benefits into the future.”
The Trust announced this granting stream in December 2017, with a commitment of $3 million over two years. CBT said in a press release that the grants are part of the Trust’s recent $11.6-million, three-year commitment to arts and culture, and to heritage.
Other aspects include a new heritage professional located in the Basin and the new Heritage, Museum and Archive Grants.
The Trust is also continuing the Arts and Culture Program delivered by the Columbia Kootenay Cultural Alliance and its Built Heritage Grants, a partnership with Heritage BC.
As well as the Key City Theatre, venues in Golden, Invermere, Kaslo, Nelson, New Denver, Revelstoke, Rossland and Trail received grants of between approximately $4,000 and $48,000.
“Realizing the importance of arts and culture to Basin residents, we have committed to meeting community needs for venues through these grants,” said Wayne Lundeberg, Columbia Basin Trust. “These 12 projects will contribute to keeping the region a vibrant place to live and visit.”