Funds for new La Ronde

The Daily Press (Timmins) - - FRONT PAGE - EMMA MELDRUM

The Cen­tre cul­turel La Ronde is $2.5 mil­lion away from meet­ing the costs of con­struct­ing its new build­ing.

That’s ac­cord­ing to a press re­lease is­sued Fri­day, an­nounc­ing the start of the fundrais­ing cam­paign.

The project will in­clude an art gallery, ad­min­is­tra­tive of­fices and a multi-use room with a pro­fes­sional stage.

The to­tal cost of the build­ing is $4.5 mil­lion. The project is re­ceiv­ing a $500,000 do­na­tion from La caisse pop­u­laire de Tim­mins, and in­surance is fi­nanc­ing the project up to $1.6 mil­lion.

Ludger Cloutier, who is in charge of the project, said the shov­els will hit the dirt in spring of next year at 32 Moun­tjoy St.

“We still have to raise $2.5 mil­lion in do­na­tions and grants for this con­struc­tion,” said Cloutier in the re­lease. “The sup­port of our part­ners is cru­cial. Ev­ery con­tri­bu­tion will make a dif­fer­ence.”

Fifty years ago, de­ter­mined in­di­vid­u­als cre­ated the Cen­tre cul­turel La Ronde with heart and vi­sion, noted the re­lease.

“To­day, more de­ter­mined in­di­vid­u­als have a vi­sion and the heart to con­struct a build­ing that is loyal to the orig­i­nal mis­sion,” stated the re­lease in French.

Cloutier told Télévi­sion française de l’on­tario (TFO) that it won’t be the big­gest fran­co­phone cul­tural cen­tre in the prov­ince, but it will be the most beau­ti­ful.

“We are go­ing to re­build our place,” he said in French.

A fire broke out in the orig­i­nal build­ing in Novem­ber 2015, which led to its even­tual tear­ing down in Fe­bru­ary of this year. About $2 mil­lion in dam­age re­mained after the fire, which of­fi­cials de­ter­mined was caused by ar­son.

The ex­ec­u­tive board de­cided that ren­o­va­tions would be too ex­pen­sive, and would have in­cluded a new el­e­va­tor and a new heat­ing, ven­ti­la­tion and air con­di­tion­ing sys­tem. There was also old as­bestos in­su­la­tion in some parts of the build­ing.

The struc­ture was orig­i­nally Holy Fam­ily School, built in the 1920s, and the La Ronde or­ga­ni­za­tion moved into the school in 1971.

The group has tem­po­rar­ily moved to the former École St-charles on Kent Street and has con­tin­ued to or­ga­nize con­certs and events since be­ing moved out of the Moun­tjoy build­ing.

The direc­tor of the board, Josée Du­quette, told TFO she hopes to hold La Ronde’s 50th an­niver­sary cel­e­bra­tions in the new build­ing.

“After the fire, we saw less par­tic­i­pa­tion in our ac­tiv­i­ties, be­cause peo­ple thought we weren’t do­ing them, but slowly, it’s grow­ing again. The day­care is do­ing well, just like our cul­tural ac­tiv­i­ties.”

The new 10,000 square foot, on­e­storey struc­ture will likely be com­pleted by the end of next year.

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