May project update: cSPACE breaks ground on King Edward
cSPACE was joined by friends and partners on May 13 to officially break ground on the first phase of our flagship project – restoring the former 1912 King Edward School and creation of a new public park. With the century-old heritage school as a backdrop, the ceremony featured music by local band Rotary Park, the unveiling of a temporary mural by artist Tyler Hochhalter, and beautiful artist-designed hard hats provided to our partners.
Guest of Honour Mayor Naheed Nenshi captured the vision of cSPACE King Edward in his opening remarks:
“I love that we’re taking a century-old building that’s been vacant for years and putting it where it belongs — right back into the community,” said Mayor Naheed Nenshi.
For us, that community is both local and city-wide. At the same time as it is revived as a neighbourhood gathering place, cSPACE King Edward will be the home to dozens of small non-profit organizations and artists starting in 2016. The groundbreaking ceremony provided us with an opportunity to announce the initial slate of those arts and culture organizations that have now leased space at the hub:
- Alberta Craft Council
- Alberta Magazine Publishers Association
- The Alexandra Writers Centre Society
- Alliance Francaise
- Calgary Association of Lifelong Learners
- Forte Musical Theatre
- Maria Montessori Education Centre
- Studio C
- Theatre Encounter
Filling 50% of the leasable space in the building, these organizations will bring new life to the vacant former school as a hub for artistic and community programming. Another 18,000 s.f. of affordable artist studios, flexible offices and organizational workspace will be made available in mid-2016.
Breaking ground also signalled the mobilization of our construction team to prepare the site for the many trades that will be restoring and updating the century-old heritage building. Over the coming weeks, Clark Builders will be protecting historic doors and trim, together with original terrazzo, tile and slate flooring. The beautiful wood windows are each being assessed for the detailed restoration process ahead. Mechanical systems will be decommissioned and existing services disconnected. Careful demolition will allow for many new features of the building including an oversized elevator to ensure the historic school is fully accessible. Visible exterior work will begin in June with regrading, trenching and new underground service installations.
Reaching a milestone such as groundbreaking is an incredible achievement for a start-up organization like cSPACE. As we continue to fundraise for the final $4.2 million to complete the new west wing, we are incredibly thankful for the ongoing support from our partners, donors and communities. Onward!