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
over the next two years to beautify the grounds and provide
a new space to be used for programs and events and as a
community gathering place.
PHASE 1 -
May – October, 2013
To improve access and
safety for our school, youth and community groups, a bus
lay-by will be added to the Bonaventure side of our building
along with a vehicle turnabout and visitor drop-off area.
The wheelchair ramp will be relocated alongside the bus
lay-by. A space will be designated and prepared for future
public art installation. The points of the star-shaped
citadel, Fort Townshend, will be marked by granite pavers
and follow a lit pathway. The pathway, a continuation of the
Grand Concourse trail system, will cross the lawns, parking
lots and sidewalks of The Rooms.
PHASE 2 -
Landscaping will be
completed and furnishings installed. 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
now have the means to complete these enhancements.
2. What will the project
cost? The estimated cost of the project is approximately
3. Where did 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, Shannie Duff, Councilor, City of St. John’s.
(John O’Mara, inaugural Chair).
The Grand Concourse Authority was appointed to develop a
site plan, key to which is the demarcation of the
star-shaped citadel of Fort Townshend as a continuation of
the Grand Concourse trail system.
The Rooms Board of Directors approved the plan presented by
The Grand Concourse Authority 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 and is now pleased to share the plans with the
5. Who will do the work? The Grand Concourse Authority,
which has received wide acclaim for its work on the Grand
Concourse trail system in St. John’s, will oversee
construction. Given the sensitivities of The Rooms site and
its archaeology, The Rooms is confident that the GCA’s
experience and expertise in developing historically
significant sites will be of great benefit to the project.
6. 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.
7. 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.
8. How long will the project take? The development will be
completed in two phases over two years, starting in May of
2013, with completion in the fall of 2014.
9. 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.