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Unanticipated circumstances push back Yates opening

A series of changes to the mechanical work required at the Genevieve Yates Memorial Centre, along with a supply shortage of specialized construction material, will further delay the re-opening of the theatre. The facility, which was scheduled to reopen in mid-July, is now estimated to open in September, 2018. 

"We understand the impact this change has on the groups that use the Yates theatre," says Jason Freund, Recreation Services Manager for the City of Lethbridge. "We're working hard to keep everyone informed as things change and to explore all the options we can to minimize the impact on the community."

The building contained an unexpected amount of asbestos, which requires specialized removal processes to ensure safety and adherence to environmental requirements. There were also unknowns in the structural make-up of the space that were not discovered until well into the demolition process.

"It's an old building and, although we did as much investigation as we could prior to the construction, there are somethings we just didn't know until we opened up the walls and roof," says Rob Villeneuve, Project Manager for the City of Lethbridge. "These unknowns have required redesign work and that adds extra time."

In addition to the increased remediation and structural redesign, a shortage of supplies needed for lighting in the audience chamber of the Yates Theater is delaying the continuation of work in that area.

"Construction projects of this size are complex and the work is often sequential. When you are missing a piece, it delays what can be done next," says Villeneuve. "We're looking at ways to speed up this process but there appears to be a backlog in the demand for this product across the world."

The project is still currently on budget as the additional time and resources needed have been within the project's contingency funding.

The goal of the Yates renovations is to improve performance capabilities, enhance audience experience and create a more accessible facility. The work includes upgraded mechanical and electrical systems, a fire sprinkler system, performance audio/visual systems, acoustic treatments, upgraded finishes like paint, flooring and ceilings, catwalk relocation, dressing room revisions, seating replacements, roof replacement, barrier-free washroom upgrades, the addition of elevators, signage and a concrete floor under the auditorium.

The Yates fully closed to the public in September, including the ticket centre. Ticket purchases or inquiries can still be made by calling (403) 329-7328, in-person at the ENMAX Centre Ticket Centre (2510 Scenic Drive South) or online at

For more information on this project visit

Media Contacts: 

Regarding construction contact:
Rob Villeneuve
Project Manager, City of Lethbridge
Phone: (403) 320-4028 | email:

Regarding facility operations contact:
Jason Freund
Recreation Services Manager, City of Lethbridge
Phone: 320-3014 | Email: