All the World’s a Stage:

DSBN and Town of Fort Erie Reach Agreement on Shared Theatre

The District School Board of Niagara and the Town of Fort Erie have an agreement that will see the development of a new, 500 seat theatre and ensure residents do not supplement the cost of construction through increased taxes. The theatre will be included as part of the Greater Fort Erie Secondary School project, scheduled to be completed in September, 2017.

“This is a project that speaks to the future of the community. A community that works collaboratively with all of its stakeholders in order to create something unique. E.J. Freeland always envisioned having a theatre arts centre as part of the municipal campus and by partnering with the school board we also ensure an inter-generational connection between students and all Fort Erie residents, young and old alike,” said Fort Erie Mayor, Wayne Redekop.

“There is a wealth of student talent in Fort Erie. Students will benefit from having a modern, professional facility to learn and stage productions in,” said Warren Hoshizaki, Director of Education for the DSBN.  “Being able to add this key piece to Greater Fort Erie Secondary School will help provide for student and community needs for decades to come.”

“This agreement is an example of what can be accomplished when the school board and municipality work together cooperatively in the best interests of the public,” said Dave Schaubel, DSBN Trustee for Fort Erie.

Under the terms of the agreement, the DSBN will commit $500,000 to the project, which will be matched by the Town over a period of three years. A fundraising committee will be struck to raise the remaining $2 million dollars of the expected construction costs. The committee will seek to raise funds through corporate sponsorships, community events and individual donors.

“Financially, this agreement shields the general taxpayer from any rate increases. It’s certainly a win-win,” said Schaubel.

The agreement does not provide for the construction of a shared library within the new school. “After a review of the services currently offered, it was determined that the community is very well served by existing branches of the Fort Erie Public Library,” said Mayor Redekop.

Greater Fort Erie Secondary School will be built across from the Municipal Centre in Fort Erie. It will bring together the populations of Fort Erie Secondary and Ridgeway-Crystal Beach High School. The Board expects to tender the project in the spring, with an official groundbreaking to follow in fall 2015.