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and we want to share them with you.

A Vibrant Community Space

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 - Spring/Summer 2014

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 $2.5 million.

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 public.

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.

Essential Information for Planning your Visit...