Fergus Grand Theatre to get much needed renovations

It’s tough to emote with water dripping from the roof.

Centre Well­ington Town­ship council, in a special meeting on Monday, awarded a renovation tender to Demikon Construction Ltd, of Guelph for $292,110 for the Fergus Grand Theatre. That low bid was $80,000 over the approved budget, but coun­cillors voted unanimously to approve the work.

Treasurer Wes Snarr told council in a report the work will include reinforcing the existing roof, installing a new HVAC (heating and air condi­tioning) system, replacing the existing roof membrane, re-pointing portions of the mason­ry façade, replacement of localized doors and windows, and repainting the front canopy.

Once the work starts, the theatre is expected to be closed until Oct. 2.

“Completion of this project will resolve a number of fire, structural, and health and safety issues associated with the existing heating system, roof, and stone wall,” Snarr’s report said.

There were three bids for the work, with the high bid being a numbered company from Guelph offering to do the work at $317,940. Another bid was disqualified.

The tender included some op­tions for more work, but staff did not recommend council follow on them. Those would have ranged from a low of about $32,000 to the high bid of $33,500.

The proposal might have ar­rived at council just in time. Councillor Walt Visser noted that the roof was leaking on Monday morning, and he wondered if the proposed work will include replacing shingles.

Building inspector Bob Fos­ter said it would, as well as adding more insulation.

Snarr said work on the eaves will also help because the old eaves allow ice build-up that is a safety hazard. The heavy-duty eaves going in are designed to correct that prob­lem. He said the recreation department has been forced to close a walkway in the past for safety because of ice build-up.

Mayor Joanne Ross-Zuj ask­ed how soon the work can be done.

Recreation Director Andy Goldie said it can happen reasonably quickly.

Ross-Zuj said she is con­cerned because there have been major delays with obtaining  HVAC systems for other con­struction projects.

Goldie said he will have the contractor keep the current sys­tem operational until the new system is ready to be installed. He did warn there is a pos­si­bility there will be some work to be done when the theatre re-opens.

Snarr’s report noted that deferring the purchase of field maintenance equipment, bleach­er replacement, and a $17,200 transfer from capital reserves could make up the bud­get shortfall on the theatre project.

Councillor Kirk McElwain asked if that will cause prob­lems.

Goldie said “ not this year,” and added that two of the three major events for the field clean-up equipment are now completed. He was referring to the Truck Show and Scottish Festival. The Fergus Fall Fair is yet to come.

Council then voted unani­mously to approve the project and award the tender. Coun­cillors Ron Hallman and Bob Foster were absent.

After the vote, Ross-Zuj said, “I’m pleased with that. It’s the right thing to do. We’re finally getting it [the theatre] cleaned up.”