Plans for a celebration are in the works as the exterior restoration of the city’s famed Dome Building is almost complete.
And, it’s expected that the overhaul of historic Display Building No. 2, inside and out, will prove cheaper than expected.
"Every stage of the project so far has come in significantly under budget," said Provincial Exhibition of Manitoba CEO Karen Oliver, who provided an update for the project on Wednesday.
Starting three years ago, the building at the Keystone Centre grounds was stabilized and the roof has been replaced.
Windows true to the original design have been installed and siding is now being put in place.
New metal for the roof is expected to be installed and there will be 16 flagpoles fixed to the structure to represent the original number that were on the building.
"We’ve seen some great pictures when it flew all the flags and it was very impressive," Oliver said.
Those flags should be flying, and the exterior finished, in time for a rededication ceremony scheduled for June 10, during the Manitoba Summer Fair.
That would effectively mark the 100th anniversary of the building which was originally formally opened in July of 1913.
It’s the last surviving building in Canada that was built between 1879 and 1913 as part of the federal Dominion Fairs program.
As such, it has national and provincial heritage status.
Work on the interior, which includes a new floor, is expected to take 18 months to two years.
It will house a learning centre with interactive displays intended to educate visiting families about agriculture.
It will also serve as the offices of five agricultural groups, including the Provincial Ex itself.
The entire cost of the restoration of the building was budgeted at $7.2 million. It’s to be funded through equal portions of fundraising, and provincial and federal funding.
Since the original design, plans for a mezzanine have been added to the project. That will include office space, a boardroom and an elevator.
But given some savings, the restoration is still expected to be within the original budget.
"We’re still confident that we will come in under the $7.2-million budget," Oliver said.
It was the volunteer project managers who managed to find savings, Oliver said.
For example, it was originally suggested that the building be raised to improve drainage.
Instead, project managers suggested digging around the building to improve drainage which saved an estimated $500,000, at least.
Savings have also been found in volunteering and gifts in kind.
Plans for a surrounding park are also going ahead, which include a wind turbine that will help power the building and reduce operating costs.
The building will also feature geothermal temperature control.
"It’s important that the building be sustainable into the future, and that we not be looking to the public in 10 years for assistance in operating the building," Oliver said. "So our plan all along has been to make it self-sufficient."
Plans for outside also include community garden, a playground, research crop plots, flower beds for horticultural therapy and a "heritage orchard."
The Keystone Centre will own the property and lease it to the Provincial Exhibition for a nominal annual lease.
The Provincial Exhibition will then manage and maintain the property.