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Sudbury releases details of $68.8M plan to move library, art gallery into city hall

After costs ballooned to almost $100 million due to global inflation, Greater Sudbury has revised a plan for a new library and art gallery, trimming $45 million in costs by moving both projects into Tom Davies Square.

The new $68.8 million plan also drops the Junction East name from the project. It’s now being called the Cultural Hub at Tom Davies Square project.

The decision to move into city hall was a way to maintain the scope of the project while still reducing costs. By moving into Tom Davies, renovations will be required rather than a new build.

Longer term, the city was already paying for lights, heat and other maintenance costs for Tom Davies. Moving the art gallery and library into the same space allows for more savings.

“By transforming the existing city hall facility, the project is a catalyst for further downtown revitalization by establishing an accessible, inviting, contemporary, people-oriented space for connecting citizens not only to each other, but also to a world of art, information, and technology,” the staff report said.

“The facility will also contribute to the local economy and tourism, drive municipal environmental performance and model green building technologies other commercial building owners could emulate, all while providing a welcoming gathering place for citizens and visitors alike.”

In addition to 54,000 square feet for the library and 30,000 square feet for the art gallery, city hall will also become home to the Sudbury Multicultural and Folk Arts Association, which will take up 2,000 square feet.

After costs ballooned to almost $100 million due to global inflation, Greater Sudbury has revised a plan for a new library and art gallery, trimming $45 million in costs by moving both projects into Tom Davies Square. (File)

“This transformation contributes to maximizing the use of unique existing facility features that include a massive outdoor courtyard, two second story terraces and a magnificent atrium, and makes full use of available space in the entire TDS complex,” the report said.

“Bringing these services together in one location reduces the capital and operating costs originally anticipated for this project.”

Funding for the project will largely come from the $200 million low-interest debenture the city acquired when it was still planning to build the Junction and a new arena on the Kingsway.

Applications have been made to upper levels of government in hopes of getting $24.9 million of the budget covered, with the city’s share ranging from at least $40.8 million up to a maximum of $64.5 million.

SPACE OPENING UP AT CITY HALL

Space is opening up at Tom Davies Square thanks to a few factors. One is an increase in remote work, but another factor is the province is renting less space in the city hall towers at 199 Larch St, known as the provincial tower.

“As a result of post-pandemic changes to business operations, the province has relinquished a significant amount of space within 199 Larch St.,” the report said.

“This has created vacancies within the tower that make the recommendation to proceed with the Cultural Hub at Tom Davies Square more feasible.”

Some groups will be affected, however. Staff at the Nickel District Conservation Authority have been told they may have to move and a childcare centre could be affected.

“The Larch Street Kids childcare centre has recently been exploring opportunities for expansion that allow them to expand their program, create more childcare spaces, and include a full outdoor playscape to increase opportunities for outdoor learning and play,” the report said.

“Over the next several months, the childcare centre will be working with the City of Greater Sudbury and the Ministry of Education to explore potential new sites.”

If everything goes smoothly, the plan is to issue and RFP for the project before the end of 2023 and to complete the project in the last quarter of 2026.

Read the full report here.

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