By SUSAN PETRINA – Highlands Facilities Renewal Committee (HFRC) project lead
Dec.2015 – The Highlands building committee has been busy and things are really getting rolling now as we look to meet our first grant deadline in early 2016.
Over the spring and summer, committee members worked with long-time resident, Boyd England to create an Owner’s Project Requirements (OPR) document. Boyd is an experienced project manager who works in the field.
Together with his CDML employer Dave Green, they facilitated a workshop for committee and HCL board members to help determine what building fundamentals were going to be important to the community centre. This included questions on functional uses, occupancy requirements, factors to influence sustainability, and how the community might measure a successful project over the long-term.
Along with the Public Needs Assessment Survey conducted summer 2014, the OPR will provide more detailed information to the architects and designers that will be bidding on the project and it will assist them in understanding our own unique needs and priorities.
The OPR forces us to refine our thinking and our facility wish-list into a weighted list of priorities that will constantly be reevaluated as we move further along with the project. We can “dream big,” however throughout the process we must always keep in mind a few important things:
- We need to plan and build for both current and future needs (This kind of visioning exercise can be challenging!)
- We must build within our budget
- And we need to remember that it will mostly be volunteers running and maintaining the facility
This summer, a Request for Proposals (RFP) was put out for designers to create what are called “high-level concept drawings.” This is not to be confused with actual building design drawings that will come much later in this process.
Both the survey and OPR will influence our functional program. High-level drawings work alongside the functional program
that must be created to broadly understand and get a layout of how the physical space might be organized based on use and type of activity. It determines the relative amount of space required for each specific function and the relationships between program components while also considering qualitative aspects such as lighting and materials.
Public Involvement Process
The drawings, together with many other components, must be completed to submit to the City of Edmonton for the Community League Infrastructure Program (CLIP) grant next spring. Remembering that community consultation and involvement is key throughout the project timeline, materials collected to date will be on display at neighbourhood events.
The first community event of the year was June’s Highlandia Festival. HFRC shared an information table with Highlands and Bellevue community leagues and the Abundant Communities Initiative. At that event, the building committee revealed it’s new catchy branding – Vision 2020.
Vision 2020 encapsulates the ideas, creativity and long-term planning that our committee, community league board and neighbourhood in general are collectively undertaking. Specific to the building project though, Vision 2020 is the visual and tagline that we will now use to identify the community centre building project (Phase 1), as well as the reimagining and redevelopment of other areas and facilities on HCL’s licensed land in later phases.
Plant a seed, watch it grow
I’m going to take this opportunity to plant an idea seed in your heads and get you thinking about the ways that you might be able to contribute to the success of this large community building project, even if you’re not active on our committee.
A new building will require funding, and while we expect a large portion to come from government grants we also need to consider other types of donations. A couple that could be most helpful to us includes what are called “in-kind” donations and private/corporate grant programs.
Following the same idea, if you work for a company that offers community grant programs where employees are invited to submit ideas for projects within their neighbourhoods or for organizations they’re involved in, please consider the rebuilding of our community centre as an idea.
We need to have all the funding in place before construction begins, so we are jumping on this immediately and we’re open to your ideas and connections. After all, community is about building relationships!
Your Friends & Neighbours
And speaking of relationships, I want to thank my fellow committee members and other volunteers for working alongside me to date. This first part of project planning is the toughest
as we get our bearings and it begins to hit home what a significant effort is required in not only the dreaming but actually making a new community centre a reality. We are effectively practical visionaries – an interesting juxtaposition indeed.
I’ll admit – I’ve quivered a couple of times at the magnitude of this project but I have full confidence in our team and that we’ll get it done. Since November 2013, we’ve had a growing list of volunteers who have stepped up as the project warranted.
When you see your neighbours, please THANK them for their continued efforts, dedication and hours of volunteer service because we won’t get this thing built without them!
Steve Baker, Brad Burns, Ericka Chemko, Boyd England, Laura England, Chris Graham, Ben Hartt, Audrey Hayward, Sandy Herity, Howard Lawrence, Geoff Lilge, Rhoda McDonough, Karin Nelson, Ann Parker, Susan Ruttan, Al Schifano, Ted Smith, Barb Spencer, Nykie Starr, John Strikwerda, Dwayne Wilson, Johanne Yakula.
– Implementation of a fundraising strategy
– and p.s. if you are a lawyer who lives in the ‘hood (or you know of one!) and can offer your discerning, critical review of very important documents that the League is going to be signing in the coming months, please, please, please consider contributing your services to our project.
For more info: Susan Petrina, Project Lead