The Studio/Stage Door is a hive of activity and excitement these days.
With funding from the Government of Canada’s Community Infrastructure Improvement Fund, Cranbrook Community Theatre (CCT) is renovating and retrofitting the Studio lobby of the historic building.
New windows, insulation, doors, and flooring are being installed, but the improvement most coveted is the upgrading of the washrooms, which would double the size and offer handicap and wheelchair accessibility. The addition of these bathrooms is the second phase of CCT’s accessibility project which started with the installation of stair glides in the fall of 2011.
“Working on a heritage building has had a few challenges,” said Project Manager Peter Schalk. “But, after finding some surprises like a hidden ceiling and little to no insulation, bringing everything up to code will provide years of comfortable access in the building.”
The work on the Studio lobby began in earnest on June 3. The project was awarded to local builder Leiman Homes, who is acting as the general contractor.
As an interesting side note: the Leiman family has a long and storied history in the Cranbrook and Fort Steele area. Mrs. Ruby Leiman grew up in Fort Steele’s Windsor Hotel. Her grandfather, Robert D. Mather, started a sawmill near Fort Steele, which provided the lumber for the Windsor Hotel. After moving to Cranbrook and marrying in 1937 she raised her sons Peter and Leonard. Her grandsons Kevin and Krister now help run the family business.
CCT is pleased to be working with the Leiman brothers, whose family has as much history as the Studio/Stage Door, on this project.
Making the Studio/Stage Door building energy efficient and reducing its carbon footprint is a long term goal of CCT.
Originally built in 1909 as a Masonic Temple, the building was put up for sale in 1973. CCT lobbied the City of Cranbrook to purchase the building, which the mayor and council at the time had the foresight to do. The City then turned the building over to the Cranbrook Community Theatre, whose board of directors act as stewards.
“By enhancing the accessibility of the Cranbrook Community Theatre, this well-loved heritage facility can continue to be a cultural hub for local residents and visitors,” said David Wilks, Member of Parliament for Kootenay—Columbia, on behalf of the Honourable Lynne Yelich, Minister of State for Western Economic Diversification.
“Investing in community facilities such as this theatre demonstrates our government’s commitment to supporting the long-term prosperity of communities across Canada by creating jobs and fostering economic growth.”
The Studio lobby renovation is expected to be completed by late summer, early fall.