Dawson Creek Art Gallery facelift to be completed by November

It’s official. City council has approved $1.2 million for a facelift of the Dawson Creek Art Gallery that will begin in early August.

Originally estimated by council in March to cost $1.4 million, the project will ensure the iconic grain elevator, Art Gallery building, Peace Country Roots Group building and another auxiliary building will last for at least another 50 years.

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The successful bid went to Dawson Creek’s Bear Mountain Construction.

The project will involve the removal and replacement of the current siding, which contains lead paint,  the replacement of the windows, soffit, fascia and the removal of electrical components and lighting that are no longer in use.

All four buildings will need to be closed for the majority of the project. But with appropriate walkways and overhead protection, the main building could remain open during some of the construction. However, the city warns that would increase the final price tag for the overhaul.

A large portion of the Northern Alberta Railway Park's lot will also be required for staging and material storage, leaving little space forparking.

The gallery previously said that the Calvin Kruk Centre would serve as a temporary exhibition space during the renovations.

The tricky part will be finding a spot for the gallery’s gift shop during peak tourism season, a time when local artists benefit the most from sales.

Unless a safety tunnel from the parking lot to the entrance can be arranged, the gift shop will have to close, Operations Manager Alana Hall said.

“This is a complex project,” a report to city council states. “The city’s risk is the possibility of weather delays and possible unknown issues requiring attention being discovered in the currently inaccessible areas of the structure.”

The city also decided to replace the roof — something that was not part of the original plan. The asphalt shingles will be replaced with a metal roof system. 

“The roofs haven’t expired yet, but you’ll never do them at a cheaper price than now,” Deputy Director of Community Services Duncan Redfearn told Alaska Highway News.

“They’re going to have all the mobilization, the scaffolding, everything else on site.”

Another part of the project involves the shoring up of the ground underneath the foundation.

The city guesses the upgrades will be finished by the end of November, a full two months later than had originally been anticipated.

“The contractor can’t start ordering supplies until they are awarded [the contract], and the supplies are going to take time to get here,” Redfearn explained.

Redfearn noted that the successful bidder has to be creative in order to complete the project safely.

“At its highest point, the building is a little over 100 feet tall, and in the Peace Region with winds and other weather factors, it’s challenging to get that work done and still meet all of the WorkSafe compliance requirements,” he said.

The contractor has worked with WorkSafe every step of the way, he added. It will use multiple methods, including lifts, scaffolding and swing stages — commonly used in window washing — to complete the work.

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