City of Calgary to invest $2.5M for upgrades to new home for National accessArts Centre

Much-needed funding has been secured to help The National accessArts Centre, formerly known as Indefinite Arts Centre, move into its new home after a roof collapse at the Fairview Arena in 2018.

The arts organization, which provides artistic training for people with developmental, physical and acquired disabilities, is expected to set up shop in the Scouts Canada building along Memorial Drive.

Read more: Indefinite Arts Centre finds new name and potential new home

According to a letter addressed to the organization from the City of Calgary, the City has secured $2.5 million for accessibility upgrades and repairs to the building, which is also a City of Calgary Historic Resource.

“These improvements are being done with the intention of offering the National accessArts Centre the space as their future new home,” City of Calgary building infrastructure manager Susan Specht wrote in the letter.

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Specht said the City is in the process of looking for a consultant, and engagement with the National accessArts Centre on interior renovation requirements in early-April.

The location was identified as a potential location for the centre to move into in November, but money was needed for upgrades on the city-owned facility to make it accessible for artists with disabilities.

“This is an exciting step forward for our organization,” National accessArts Centre CEO Jung-Suk Ryu said. “For three years, we’ve faced tremendous challenges and uncertainty following the collapse of the adjoining arena, and this has had an impact on our community of more than 300 artists living with disabilities.”

“Now, we are moving towards having a safe, fully accessible home for our organization.”

Read more: Officials to begin demolition at Fairview Arena, inspections at other arenas underway

The Centre’s current location is in an adjoining facility to the Fairview Arena, which had its roof collapse in 2018.

The collapse prompted the arts organization to evacuate its adjoining space for six months while the City of Calgary completed an assessment of the building.  In November it was decided the building the arts organization occupied would also be demolished.

The arena, built in 1972, was demolished in March.

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According to the City, the process to designate the Scouts Canada building as a municipal heritage resource is underway, and may come with requirements that affect project timelines.

Ryu said the group is expected to take occupancy of the building in late 2021 or early 2022.

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