Ritchie Hall Revitalisation Committee (RHRC) 

Our needs assessment/community consultation project is in full swing!

 

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We want to replace our wonderful hall with something even better!

We want to replace our wonderful hall with something even better!

 

Built in 1961, Ritchie’s hall has seen its fair share of action. Be it special events, meetings, weddings or regular programs, our hall has served us well.   However, as time has gone by and the community around has continued to evolve, so too have our needs and expectations for this important local facility.

The Project

Since officially kicking off in December 2014, our Ritchie Hall Revitalisation Project has continued to gain momentum. Ultimately, our goal is to create a contemporary, warm and inviting space that is tailored to community needs.  We want our hall to not only be the perfect host for Ritchie’s signature events, but to be the reason private functions are so unforgettable.

The Ritchie Hall Revitalisation Committee (RHRC) is excited about the future. We are building on previous fundraising and planning investments and working hard to deliver a great facility that will better serve the neighbourhood.

Why now?

We aren't ageist but our hall is old and not in an edgy retro way!  The cinder block building was originally constructed more than five decades ago and although major renovations were undertaken in the late seventies and again in the nineties, we know it's time for a significant overhaul.

In 2010, the Edmonton Federation of Community Leagues (EFCL) contracted Stantec to assess older community league halls in the city.  We can’t say we were shocked to learn that our hall has a number of deficiencies requiring attention.

More specifically, our kitchen, HVAC, fire safety system, bathroom and meeting spaces are outdated and energy inefficient. The hall is also struggling to meet the growing capacity requirements of many of our user groups.

Nitty Gritty Details

While Ritchie hall is owned by Ritchie Community League, the land it sits upon is City of Edmonton parkland.

For a buck, the City of Edmonton grants us a licence to occupy the land and use it in accordance with an agreement signed by our League, the City, and the EFCL. The land is called our “licensed area.”

This matters because with the exception of non-structural interior improvements, all changes and new developments within the “licensed” boundary must follow the City of Edmonton Parkland Change Process.

The Process

There are five key phases associated with the Parkland Change Process. At a glance it looks something like this:

1.       Strategy Phase

  • Does the change align with both the City and Ritchie’s policies and goals?

2.         Concept Phase

a.       Project Plan

i.     Assessments

1.         Geotechnical
2.     Hazardous Materials/Environmental
3.     Structural Engineering
4.     Architectural Studies
5.     Parking
6.     Traffic
7.     Needs assessment/Public Consultation

b.         Public Involvement Plan
c.          Concept Drawings

3.       Design Phase

a.         Schematic Designs
b.         Development Permit
c.          Construction Drawings
d.         Building Permit
e.         Utility Co-ordination

4.       Build Phase

a.         Construction Tender
b.         Construction Agreement
c.          Actually shovels in the ground construction
d.         Operating Plan
e.         Official Project Documentation & Certification

5.       Operate

a.         Utility Hook-ups
b.     Funding Reconciliations
c.     GREAT BIG GRAND OPENING PARTY

Our Progress

We’ve been busy spreading the word about the project, gathering feedback, tinkering with ideas and doing a fair bit of paperwork!

In early 2015, we contracted a community engagement expert, who reached out to Ritchie community members of all ages as well as local and city-wide user groups. This work helped identify the following priorities, which have been ranked in order of importance:

  1. Indoor / Outdoor Connection between the building and the city park space and community rink.    

  2. Sustainability in construction material, energy efficiencies and operational cost.

  3. Community Kitchen enhanced for gathering and conversation.

  4. Large Space - Flexible and engaged community space.

  5. Support to the Arts and fitness, but not necessarily organised sports.

  6. An enhanced skate shack that enables winter recreation.

  7. A lounge Area that is available for community gathering.                

  8. Usable Exterior Spaces that enable coming together in natural surroundings.

  9. Better Storage for programming opportunities.

  10. Front Desk / Reception that is welcoming and functional for community events.

After our consultation efforts, our next step was to issue an RFP and select an architect to assist with plans for the renovation, repair and expansion work being considered. This helped us get a better visual of the possibilities and fed our excitement.  You may recall seeing the plans, along with a pretty neat scale model, at Community League Day in September 2015.

Since this last unveiling, our focus has been on completing required assessments, investigating funding opportunities and avoiding writer's cramp.

We are pleased to share that the concept phase is now drawing to a close and key documents have been sent off to the city planners. While we anticipate there will be a little back and forthing, we hope to receive approval to move on to the design phase very soon!

What might it look like?

It is important to remember that all of this is very much a work in progress. Although nothing is confirmed as of yet, here are some of the early concepts we are exploring

Can We Afford It?

Prudent savings and fundraising by previous boards of directors has left us in a very good financial position compared with many other leagues.

The RHRC has also been hard at work applying for grants and the League recently established a fundraising committee who are selling some stylish Ritchie swag to help boost our bank account.

The good news is we could actually complete a substantial spruce-up of the building right now...but we’ve got our sights set on bigger and better things!

We’ve listened to our community and heard very clearly that Ritchie hall needs more than a face lift. Our needs assessment, as well as statistics kept by our hall co-ordinator, underscore a need for additional and larger multipurpose programming spaces. We intend to deliver a cleverly designed hall that is both functional and good looking!

When’s The Hall Warming Party?

It all depends on how much grant money we get and how fast we can work through the City’s parkland change process.

At this point we are hoping for construction to start in 2017 with completion slated for the following year.

Meet the Team

The RHRC’s dedicated volunteer members include:

  • Laura Cunningham-Shpeley    (ex officio member as League President)
  • Jeff Ollis - (RHRC Chair)
  • Jeff Yu - (RHRC Vice-Chair)
  • Carly Steiger - (RHRC Treasurer)
  • Eyvonne Bowler - (RHRC Secretary)
  • David Woo - (Member-at-Large)
  • Martin Kerr - (Member-at-Large)
  • Stuart Fix - (Member-at-Large)

For more information or to get involved please email: newritchiehall@gmail.com