With a large audience in tow, the Dewberry area has officially broken ground on its new hall and it is expected to be up by the middle of October, if everything goes to plan.
Rick Rewuski, the president of the Dewberry Hall Society, said that last week’s groundbreaking is the first major step in a large process.
Rewuski said that the support that the community has shown during the fundraising and initial planning of the new hall has been overwhelming and they couldn’t have been there without the full support of the community.
“It’s very important and overwhelming to have the community support on a project like this, the project just doesn’t go if we don’t have the backing of the community,” he said.
“We need their efforts in fundraising, and also volunteer labour, because this isn’t going to get done without those two components.”
Rewuski said that the project doesn’t have the complete funding right now, but will move ahead with the project anyway.
“We don’t have the full funding right now, the whole project is expected to cost about $700,000. We have approximately $350,000 to $400,000 to use towards this project.
“Our intention is to spend that money, because that is going to save the inflation part of the project. Inflation can change, and it can run from five per cent to 10 per cent. That will eliminate some of the fundraising on covering the cost on inflation.”
The new hall, which will be located on township Road 533A, will be somewhat bigger than the old hall that is currently attached to the arena.
“It’s approximately 1000 square feet bigger than the old hall, and the reason it is bigger is because we are adding a stage,” Rewuski said. “There will be dressing rooms on both sides of the stage and that is where the additional space is.”
The seating capacity will roughly stay the same, according to Rewuski, who said that it would be able to fit about 300 people sitting.
Dewberry Mayor Ken Haney, said that breaking ground on the project is much overdue.
“The hall did need to be replaced several years ago because it is old and it is small,” he said. “And with it being built onto the arena we knew that something had to be done.”
Haney said that seeing the crowd of people out on a Thursday morning really showed the support the community has for the project.
“It’s very nice to see the great community support that the new hall is getting.”
Rewuski said that the building will be delivered sometime between Sept. 15, and Oct. 15, with a three-day construction time line when material arrives.
Rewuski is hoping to have the hall frame up and enclosed before winter comes. With full operation sometime before next spring, as the Dewberry arena will begin construction on it’s new facility, which the current hall is attached to at this time.
At the groundbreaking, MLA for Vermilion-Lloydminster Richard Starke presented Rewuski a cheque on behalf of the Alberta Culture minister in the amount of $75,000.
Starke said that the group that has spearheaded the new hall is an incredible group of people.
“They are a dedicated and hardworking group of people who saw a need for their community,” he said. “Like so many other communities, they recognized the need and went on to do something about it.”
He added that the society reached out and received some assistance from the provincial government.
The money that was presented came from the Alberta Ministry of Culture Community Initiatives Program, which matches donations up to $75,000.