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Performing Arts Centre - Functional Planning and Preliminary Design - D-34

Project Status Planning
Project Type Recreation & Culture
Timeline • 2018 – Internal review of past studies
• 2020 – Business case study and recommendations
• 2020 – Council review and direction
• 2020 – Project design
• 2021 – Project design
Budget (sources) $7,175,000.00
Expenditures to Date $171,400.00
Budget Status On Budget

About the Project

This project includes the establishment of the Performing Arts Centre (PAC) Steering Committee to guide the functional planning and preliminary design for a potential Performing Arts Centre in Lethbridge.

The Steering Committee will complete a review of past studies and develop the scope for a new Performing Arts Centre facility. This will be done in the context of Lethbridge's current and future needs. The work includes the study of operational models, theatre types, sizes and amenities as well as site selection. The project also includes the acquisition of a design consultant to develop the initial facility design and establish construction and operating costs.

The project does not include the construction of a new Performing Arts Centre but rather prepares the City, if funding should become available.

Project Updates

July 2020 

  • The Committee's public survey closed July 13, 2020. 
    • 1116 responses were received. 
    • Survey results are available on the Get Involved website
  • The Committee met on July 24, 2020 to review the survey results and to receive a report from the consultants on the traditional Performing Arts Centre. 
  • The Committee continues to plan with the consultant for a report to Council (sitting as CIC) on September 14, 2020 (tentative date.)

June 2020

  • The Steering Committee received information from AMS Planning on June 8 regarding a timeline and cost for the additional requested services (the development of two business plans, as opposed to one.)
  • The Committee directed Administration to send out a public survey to gain feedback on the public's interest in and experience with the performing arts. The survey launched June 22 and remained open for three weeks. 
  • On June 15, City Council voted to defer the decision regarding potential discontinuation of D-34 in the current CIP to September 21, 2020.

May 2020

  • Key project stakeholders attended a virtual update meeting with AMS Planning. A recording of this meeting can be found here.
  • City Council was provided a Performing Arts Centre functional planning status update by Councillor Jeff Carlson, Chair of the Performing Arts Centre Steering Committee, at the April 20, 2020 regular meeting of City Council.

  • Many key project stakeholders spoke out in opposition to the non-traditional style of PAC. The Steering Committee met to discuss next steps, and directed the consultants to provide two business and operational models: one for a traditional PAC and one for non-traditional PAC, at a minimum seating capacity of 850.

Accordion Answer

March 2020

  • The Performing Arts Centre Steering Committee received a presentation from AMS Planning. Work to-date was reviewed, including the completion of Phase 1 (feasibility study.) Phase 2 (developing the building programme) was almost complete.

  • The Steering Committee reviewed several different venue forms, including traditional and non-traditional Performing Arts Centres. Lethbridge market research and projected usage data provides support for a non-traditional Performing Arts Centre, which the Committee directed AMS Planning to further explore.

February 2020

  • City Council reviewed the status of D-34 (Performing Arts Centre – Functional Planning and Preliminary Design), seeking efficiencies as part of corporate-wide operational reviews and due to a lack of provincial funding support. A resolution was put forward to discontinue D-34 from the current Capital Improvement Plan for the current four year cycle (2018-2021.) Council voted to postpone that motion to the June 29, 2020 meeting of City Council.

November 2019

  • The PAC Steering Committee met with consultants from AMS Planning to review the research they have completed to date: a Lethbridge and area market analysis, results from 52 stakeholder interviews completed in late summer and early fall of 2019, an inventory of current local venues, and results from user needs survey (promoters and local theatre users.)

  • The next step for the consultant is to work with a specialist in theatre design to identify the possible venue forms that would best meet the needs identified in the research.

  • It was confirmed that the construction of a Performing Arts Centre is still planned to be put forward for Council's consideration during the deliberation of the City's next Capital Improvement Program. 

July 2019

  • A consultant has been hired to develop a business plan and operating model for a potential future Performing Arts Centre in Lethbridge. The successful proponent has a wealth of experience in the arts and entertainment industry.

  • This project is slated to take approximately six months and the consultants will be on-site once a month, checking-in with the Project Team and Steering Committee at the end of each of the project phases.

  • As part of phase 1, the consultants visited Lethbridge on July 9-10 to start the stakeholder engagement process, meeting with several groups. They will return in August to complete these meetings.


March 2019

  • At the March 4 City Council Meeting, the Performing Arts Centre Steering Committee provided their annual report to Council. This included an overview of the committee's progress and milestones including the approved vision and guiding principles. 

November 2018 

  • The Steering Committee has completed an assessment of past studies and reviewed the many different theatre types, sizes and amenities. 
  • Committee members recently toured other performing arts facilities in Alberta. This was a valuable exercise to gather information and ideas around what would be the best fit for Lethbridge.
  • The Committee will participate in a visioning session in December and start developing a scope for the preliminary design of a possible Performing Arts Centre. Throughout this planning process, the committee will seek input from the community and is committed to keeping residents and stakeholders informed of the project progress.
  • Once the functional planning process is complete, a design consultant will be hired to develop the initial facility design and establish construction and operating costs.


April 2018

  • The Performing Arts Centre Steering Committee is established including three members of City Council, members from the arts community and City of Lethbridge staff. Terms of reference were developed and regular meetings began.


October 2017 

  • City Council approves the City's Capital Improvement Program (CIP) including a study review and initial design for a Performing Arts Centre.

Past Project Updates

The Performing Arts Centre (PAC) is a multi-use performing arts and community facility that showcases both emerging and experienced performers. The PAC is a vibrant regional hub that energizes the community and captures the cultural and economic vitality of live artistic performance.

  • Active: The PAC will always be a busy space. As a vibrant hub for the community, the facility will support and foster a variety of performing arts and community-based uses. It will be versatile and nimble, designed to grow, develop, change, and adapt alongside our evolving community.
  • Connected: A successful PAC will enable collaboration among artists, arts groups, community partners, and businesses. It will be supported and used by as many stakeholders as possible, and could serve as an anchor for the potential future development of an entertainment district.
  • Welcoming: The PAC will provide space for all ages, abilities, and backgrounds to come together to share in the performing arts. It will create opportunities for members of our community to share in programs and performing arts presentations. 
  • Sustainable: From the construction of the building and its operations and amenities to facility programming and presentations, all PAC decisions will help create a viable facility now and for years to come. 

View the Steering Committee Annual Report

Guiding Principles

The need for a Performing Arts Centre has been identified as far back as the 2007 Recreation and Culture Master Plan. The 2013 Recreation and Culture Master Plan, also included a Performing Arts Centre as a need in the community.

In May 2010, the Lethbridge Performing Arts Centre Study was conducted. It was determined that existing facilities were inadequate for current-day performances both in venue design and availability. The study contained a needs assessment and recommendations, a business plan, a building program and a schematic design.

In 2011, a second study was commissioned, this time engaging theatre specialists to evaluate the initial recommendations. From this, the Performing Arts Theatre Study Review was completed, resulting in a reduction in the size and scope of the initial recommendations.

Today, the City's current theatre, Genevieve E. Yates Memorial Centre is booked to capacity and cannot accommodate additional bookings or new performance opportunities. Despite upgrades to this facility, there is still a high demand for quality performing arts space in Lethbridge. 




Operating Reserve


Functional Planning Study

Municipal Sustainability
Initiative (MSI) Grant

$6.8 million

Preliminary Design 


$7.175 million

Contact Information

Jillian Bracken, Community Arts and Culture Manager
Recreation and Culture

Karrie Nightingale
Project Manager - Facility Services