There is a plan under way to create a new community hall for Rocanville.
This Thursday, Nov. 13, a public meeting will be held at the Catholic Church in Rocanville at 7 p.m. where the plans and ideas for a new hall will be presented by an ad hoc committee with the aim of gaining community input and moving forward with the project.
Last week a letter was circulated to the public outlining the preliminary work that has been done by the committee and inviting people to attend the meeting.
The committee is suggesting two possible floor plans and locations for the hall. One possible location is where the old rink used to sit on the corner of Ellice Street. The second suggestion is for the hall to be located between the curling rink and the pool, with the back of the hall toward the ball diamonds.
Discussion on the two floor plans and the two locations will take place this Thursday. Once a decision on a floor plan and location is made, the committee is hoping to move forward with contacting architects to design the building, determining a final cost, and developing a funding plan for the project.
Steve Fortney, the chair of the ad hoc committee, says planning work for the proposed hall began in earnest about a month ago, but the idea of building a hall in Rocanville has been talked about for a few years.
“Some of the local people in town had been thinking about it for a while,” he said. “They’d been looking at it for two or three years.
“They’ve probably needed it for about 10 years at least. We do have the curling rink and we’ve made do with that. We’ve held several functions there but obviously in the winter months that’s out. Its primary function is a curling rink, so at times it’s not the best configuration to hold other functions in.”
Fortney says not having a proper hall in town has had an effect on Rocanville.
“We don’t have a great community centre to do things in, so people do tend to maybe not plan things as much as they could if we had a facility,” he says.
The ad hoc committee that is spearheading the planning right now consists of Rocanville mayor Daryl Fingas and RM of Rocanville Reeve Murray, as well as former rec director Kathy Brown, Jennifer Kingdon, Kevin Kingdon, Chantelle Ollivier, and Herb Park.
The committee is proposing that the new hall be multi use.
“We want to make it multi purpose,” says Fortney. “We want it used for some sports. The (school) gymnasium is booked and difficult to get into, so that’s where we added the basketball and badminton and volleyball facilities to this hall.”
The committee is suggesting the new hall be suitable for weddings, dances and funerals, as well as volleyball, basketball, badminton, dance, exercise, and stage presentations.
The two floor plans presented both include a stage as well as a meeting room, a kitchen, a bar, storage, a coat check and washrooms.
The proposal for the main hall area is 6,873 square feet.
At the meeting this Thursday, the committee is hoping to get as much feedback as possible on the two suggested layouts and locations in order to set the direction of the hall project.
“We’re just throwing those two ideas and those two locations out,” says Fortney. “We’d discussed several other options and basically narrowed it down to what we thought would be a good starting point to canvass the community as for their thoughts.”
Fortney says the committee is estimating the cost of the project to be between $2 million and $3 million.
The committee says it is likely that some of the funding for the hall would be available from the town and the RM. Additional funding would come from community fundraising, corporate donations, and government donations and grants. The committee has already spoken to PotashCorp Rocanville about seeking a corporate donation, however Fortney says it is much too early for any solid commitments from the town, the RM, or corporations such as PotashCorp.
“We can’t get any commitments until we have a cost,” he says. “And you can’t get a cost until you have a design. And we don’t want to design something until we’ve had a conversation with the community.
“So we’ll finalize what we’re heading for first. We’ll consult with the community, and then the next step will be to get the architectural drawings done, and once we get those done we can get quotations to get a final price, and then we can seek funding.”
Kevin Kingdon, who initiated the formation of the hall committee along with his wife Jennifer, says he’s impressed with the way people have come on board with the project so quickly.
“There had been a lot of talk about wanting to see a hall in town from numerous people, and nothing was happening and we figured someone’s got to get the ball rolling,” he said. “We started phoning around to a few people to get the board initiated. Everyone we phoned was quite quick to jump on board and help out and do their part.
“Everybody was quite positive about it and wanting to help out.”
After the ad hoc committee was formed, five meetings were held to begin preliminary planning before the public meeting.
“The community itself has grown and there is a need for a venue where we can have weddings in the winter time and larger events,” says Kingdon.
“There is definitely a large demand for it. We’ve discussed in our group different ideas of events we would see in the building and we’ve listed quite a few already. I know the school rents out the gym quite a bit, but there are only two gyms and they are used a lot.”
Kingdon says so far, public opinion of the project seems positive.
“So far from the people I’ve talked to on the street, it has been very positive. It’s something a lot of people would like to see happen in Rocanville.”
After the public meeting this Thursday, the committee is hoping to have the building design finalized by April of next year, and to begin applying for grants. The plan is to hold another public meeting in mid-April to outline a detailed funding plan and determine if the project is viable by the end of April. If it is, the hope is to begin construction in mid-May and have the hall complete by December 2015.
“It’s nice to see something happening,” says Kingdon. “It will all be determined at our community meeting this Thursday. If anyone has any more input they would like to put into it and if it’s the right move that we are doing and if people want to see us proceed, then we’ll carry on.
“Hopefully it all goes ahead.”
Fortney says if the project goes ahead, it will be a benefit to the town of Rocanville.
“I think it will really anchor what’s going on in the community,” he says.