THE ROOMS HAS BIG PLANS -
and we want to share them with you.
The Rooms is part of a vibrant community and we have big plans for the grounds around the building. A multi-use space will be created for our visitors to enjoy for years to come. Enhancements to the site will allow The Rooms to extend the activity that happens inside the building to the outside. We’ll be working to beautify the grounds and provide a new space to be used for programs and events and as a community gathering place.
PHASE 1 - 2013
To improve access and safety for our school, youth and community groups, a bus lay-by has been added to the Bonaventure Avenue side of our building along with new plantings and landscaping in this area. A new wheelchair ramp has been installed alongside the bus lay-by, granite pavers have replaced the bricks at the front entrance and an energy efficient in-ground heating system has been installed outside near the main entrance area and on the new wheelchair ramp.
PHASE 2 – beginning in 2015
The points of the star-shaped citadel, Fort Townshend, will be marked by granite pavers and follow a lit pathway. A new vehicle turnabout and visitor drop-off area will be created in the front of the building. Spaces will be designated and prepared for future public art installations. An amphitheatre and outdoor classroom space will be completed. Benches, bike racks and additional trees, plants, shrubs and sidewalks will be added.
Some Questions You May Have About the Project
1. Why this project? Why now?
It has always been our intention to make The Rooms outdoor space as viable and beneficial to our visitors as the interior of the building. Through generous donations, we will have the means to complete these enhancements.
2. What will the project cost?
The estimated cost of the project is approximately $2.5 million.
3. Where will the money come from?
The Rooms has already secured $1.1 million from private donors. In 2008, $100,000 was generously donated by philanthropist Elinor Gill Ratcliffe for the purpose of preparing a site development plan. That same year, The Rooms also received a substantial anonymous donation of $1 million that was provided specifically to develop the grounds of The Rooms. The Rooms is working to raise the remaining funds through private and corporate donations and will not be using public funding for the project.
4. Who developed the plan?
Formed in 2007, the Site Development Committee comprised of local representatives with experience in community development projects, developed the concept for the site. The members are: Jim Case, Chair, Principal with Sheppard Case Architects, Dr. Peter Scott, former Director of the MUN Botanical Garden, Elinor Gill Ratcliffe, Businesswoman and Philanthropist, George Chalker, past chair, Heritage Canada Foundation, and Shannie Duff, former councilor, City of St. John’s. (The late John O’Mara was the inaugural Chair.)
The Grand Concourse Authority was appointed to develop a site plan that would have as its central focus the demarcation of the star-shaped citadel of Fort Townshend. The Rooms Board of Directors approved the plan in 2012.
The Rooms has also consulted the Royal Newfoundland Constabulary, the St. John’s Regional Fire Department, the Government of Newfoundland and Labrador, St. Bonaventure’s College. A public information session was held in early 2013.
5. How will this project impact Fort Townshend? The Rooms will exercise great caution in all aspects of site construction and the Provincial Archeology Office (PAO), a division of Tourism, Culture and Recreation, will provide continuous guidance and expertise over the course of the project. As was the case during the construction of The Rooms, a representative of the PAO will monitor the site during construction, however, the archaeological remains underneath the site will not be disturbed.
6. Why wasn’t the excavation of Fort Townshend included as part of the Site Development Plan? Significant archaeological remains of Fort Townshend such as the Grand Battery are located under the building. The Rooms plans to reveal these archaeological features on “Level 0” as part of an exhibit to be developed in the years ahead.
7. How long will the project take? The development will be completed in phases over several years, starting in 2013, with completion in 2018.
8. Safety and Security? The security measures and levels of monitoring that take place inside The Rooms will be extended to the outside of the building, ensuring a safe and secure place for visitors.