A consulting team has outlined the general features for a multi-purpose cultural facility for Greater Vernon.
Diamond Schmitt Architects is recommending a 57-thousand square foot space, to house an art galley, museum and other public space.
Greater Vernon Advisory chair Juliette Cunningham says the study has shown the groups can share a facility — and benefit from it.
“It creates bigger opportunities for reaching a greater audience, so that’s really positive. The evidence shows that happens. The attendance for both the co-located organizations really goes up dramatically,” Cunningham told Beach Radio News following a special GVAC meeting at the Okanagan Regional Library, due to ongoing renovations at the RDNO office.
Cunningham says there’s also plans for common space for other organizations.
“We’ve heard there is a need for a smaller space. Music groups, dance groups, whatever, where they need 250 to 300 seats. That kind of thing, and that’s a model that’s been used across the country.”
The study mentions four publicly-owned sites to consider: the Vernon Flower Shop, Coldstream Hotel site, Polson Park, and the Civic Arena land.
Detailed cost estimates for those sites will be among the next steps.
The committee hasn’t ruled out considering private sites, but one of the consultants said those can be challenging as they may not be available for long, due to the hot real estate market.
The executive director of the Vernon Art Gallery likes the general program for a proposed new cultural facility.
Dauna Kennedy-Grant says it’s been a positive process.
“They’ve met with all of the stakeholders, in terms of what we need for programming space, and they’ve taken all that and kind of combined it to see what needs to be dedicated space, and what needs to be shared space,” says Kennedy Grant.
Kennedy-Grant says they like the look of the plan.
“It’s probably doubling the art gallery space (from current), probably doubling the museum space. That’s what we’re looking at, but some of the services, we will be able to share. Back of house services and stuff like that.”
GVAC and RDNO officials hope to have enough information in place to hold a referendum on a cultural facility during this October’s municipal elections.