St. Catharines arts centre plan tossed
The blueprint for the performing arts centre in downtown St. Catharines has been scrapped.
City council is opting to start over after bids for the project came in way over what they'd planned to spend. Even the lowest bid was $10-million more than the $42-million budget.
Mayor Brian McMullan puts the blame for the overage on design finishes. He says they will be revisited as the project goes back to the drawing board. The mayor says things like back entrances to theatres could be cut too.
Not on the chopping block for now---theatre seats. McMullan says the city has to make sure it can turn a profit from the arts complex when it eventually opens.
Councillor Mark Elliott thinks Diamond & Schmitt and Architects can come up with "an attractive", on-budget building. But he admits, it probably won't be on the firm's next brochure.
Elliott points to Burlington's arts centre, also designed by Diamond & Schmitt, as a proof simple can work. The downtown councillor says he'd "love to have some cutting-edge, world-class architecture on St. Paul Street", but he's happy with "attractive architecture" that will be a community asset.
The mayor says respect for the taxpayer is why the city is putting out the calls for tenders again, likely in December or January.
Firms will be asked to submit a regular, single bid & a construction-management bid.
McMullan says the construction-management model gives the private sector more latitude in the process & could save cash.
The redesign of the performing arts centre means its opening will be delayed by about a year. It now expected for the fall of 2015, a year after Brock's relocated. School of Fine & Performing Arts is supposed to open.