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Yates Renovations Take Centre Stage

​A comfy new seat, great lighting and crisp sound are just some of the enhancements audiences will experience when the Genevieve Yates Memorial Centre re-opens. Although some areas remain under construction, a large portion of the site upgrades are now complete with many events booked over the coming months and the ticket centre scheduled to re-open next week.

New West Theatre's Million Dollar Quartet will be the first show in the newly renovated Yates running from September 12-29. A grand opening celebration event is planned for later in the fall when construction is fully complete.

"We're excited to introduce our community to the new and improved Yates Theatre," says Jason Freund, Recreation Services Manager for the City of Lethbridge. "We know this facility has been greatly missed by audiences and performers and we are thrilled to have it up and running again."

The Yates Centre, Sterndale Bennett Theatre and the onsite ticket centre fully closed to the public in September, 2017 for an extensive remodeling project. A lengthy and unanticipated remediation of the 50 year old building caused delays in the facility re-opening but the results are well worth the wait.

The Yates renovation project has improved performance capabilities, enhanced audience experience and created 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 performance space and seating area at the Yates is expected to be complete for the first show on Sept 12, but some of the finishing in the lobby area may still take a few weeks.

"Crews have been pushing through to the finish line but we know there will still be a few details in the public spaces that may not be fully finished for the first shows," says Freund. "We are doing everything we can to make sure we have it as complete as possible as quickly as possible."

The Sterndale Bennett Theatre is scheduled for completion by mid-November. The areas that will remain under construction until the end of 2018 include: mechanical room, electrical room, communications room, all basement areas including warm up room, green room, basement washrooms and all storage areas.

Despite the additional remediation work required, the project is forecasted to remained on budget. In November 2016, City Council approved advancing improvements to the Yates after receiving $3.5 million from the Federal government's Canada Cultural Spaces Fund. This funding allowed for work that was already planned to be done more quickly, including changes to make the facility more accessible. The total renovation budget was $13.4 million with $3.65 million coming from the City of Lethbridge and an additional $6.25 million from the provincial government's Municipal Sustainability Initiative (MSI) grant.

For more information on this project visit www.lethbridge.ca/yatesrenos.

Media Contacts: 

Regarding facility operations contact:
Jason Freund
Recreation Services Manager, City of Lethbridge
Phone: 320-3014 | Email: jason.freund@lethbridge.ca

Regarding construction contact:
Rob Villeneuve
Project Manager, City of Lethbridge
Phone: (403) 320-4028 | email: rob.villeneue@lethbridge.ca