The Town of Fort Erie and the District School Board of Niagara have partnered together to raise $2 million to build a new performing arts centre at the town’s future high school, Greater Fort Erie Secondary School. From left, Mayor Wayne Redekop shakes the hand of the future school’s principal, Fred Louws.
The committee charged with the task of raising $2 million for a new performing arts centre has a long way to go.But its members are confident the amount can be raised.
“I would like to say a huge thank you to the Town of Fort Erie and the District School Board of Niagara, each for contributing $500,000 and leaving us, the committee, to raise the remaining $2 million,” said committee member Fred Louws.
A kickoff to the fundraising campaign was held Monday at the Fort Erie Golf Club where members of the fundraising committee accepted a $75,000 donation from the E.J. Freeland Foundation, a non-profit charity that annually provides scholarships to Fort Erie students.
The proposed theatre, which will be located on the future site of Greater Fort Erie Secondary School on Garrison Road, will cost $3 million to build. The Town and the DSBN have committed to the Greater Fort Erie Centre for the Arts by paying for a portion of the project and agreeing to fundraise the rest.
Lows, the principal of Fort Erie’s future high school, led the campaign launch.
Dignitaries including Mayor Wayne Redekop, regional representative Sandy Annunziata and MPP Wayne Gates attended the event.
The fundraising committee consists of community members, Town staff and DSBN representatives.
Louws said the 500-seat theatre will provide a creative venue for students to highlight their talent, draw visitors to the town and strengthen the arts and culture community.
According to Redekop, the construction of the theatre is “a fantastic opportunity” for Fort Erie.
“You don’t build a community without taking risks. Any community that wants to succeed has to tap into education,” he said.
School board trustee Dave Schaubel thanked the school board and the town for working together to make the theatre a possibility.
“The theatre is vital to the community and it would be awesome to raise above and beyond the goal so the Town could have its money back to do other great things for the community.”
Both the school and the theatre are set to open in September 2017. Louws said the deadline to raise the necessary funds to pay for the school is September 2018.
All levels of support are welcome and those who make donations will be recognized. A donation of $1,000 to $2,000 will be given naming rights on auditorium seats or names will be display on a donor wall. Higher donations offer naming opportunities for the atrium, box office, and dressing rooms.
Kim Yielding, a spokesperson for the DSBN, said a date has yet to be set for the ground-breaking of the high school and theatre.
For more information about making a donation for the arts centre visit www.gfecentreforthearts.com.
Fort Erie Times