When we took over our building, we had a vision and were determined that it would become a reality. We never imagined how far it would come or how quickly. As you scroll down you can follow the progress as it happened.
This is The Centre as it was a few years before we took it over and began our changes.
Fall 2014 – Our first action – we put up our sign. Here Pat, Val and Bill are out on a frosty fall day to install it.
We removed the carpet and other “stuff” from the front room and moved in our donated and salvaged tables, chairs and supplies. The previous occupants had left shelving behind which we instantly put to use as we prepared for the first class… introduction to working with clay – a handbuilding pottery class.
More recent improvements. We have hot water! Sometimes the little things make a big difference.
We painted the “wood” sections around the windows. Here you see the building decorated for the Christmas season.
Spring 2015 – New planters for the front of the building were built, painted and planted. The style chosen is in keeping with the vision of the building once finished.
Now we are preparing to fix our roof. Thanks to Marc Rivard for removing the hazardous old maples leaning on our roof. Marc is also a community minded ISA certified arborist! How lucky for us!
Sept 2015 – The planters were a success! Our planter boxes, made by Keith Farquhar, are decorative wooden bottomless frames with large tubs (with holes drilled in the bottom) inside.
Despite its southern exposure, the frames shaded the soil in the tubs which the plants seemed to like. Thanks to Hilltop Greenhouse and local gardeners for the plants. Any day now we should see the new windows installed.
These wonderful new windows allow for natural lighting that is just wonderful for working in the arts. Thanks to Hometown MB for their contribution towards the cost of our windows.
Thanks also to Keith Farquhar of KF Carpentry and his capable volunteer helpers Daniel Woods, Curtis Naylor and Kirk Naylor for their help to get these large windows into place. See their fast action installation video here:
The interior of the east cinderblock wall of our front room has now been insulated, the wiring updated and it is painted and ready to go. The new slatwall will allow us to hang and rearrange display items easily. Thanks to KF Carpentry for your volunteer contribution to this installation.
Next… the new roof and more insulation!!
A big thank you is extended to Bill Wright for his ongoing help whenever needed to assist with whatever is needed at The Centre. He has been a big help all throughout this project.
This was a very busy summer. The roof was replaced and the interior of the art studio had a facelift while the carpentry and art studios were lined, insulated, windows and doors were installed and The Centre was wired, and painted. There were many sponsors for this project but the funds received from Manitoba Liquor & Lotteries and Tundra Oil and Gas played a major role allowing this project to go ahead.
The “garage”, formerly a car wash, had a high almost flat roof and the back of the main building had a lean-to type roof. Both were seriously in need of repair. Roof replacement began in spring of 2016.
THE ROOF IS ON!!!!
This is by far our biggest accomplishment and we are so glad it has gone so well! Thanks to Jeff Lelond for his skill and determination to get this new roof on.
Larry Schroeder has the front window installed on the woodworking studio. Do you recognize it? Scroll up to pic #2 at the top of this page. Larry is busy inside framing and insulating the walls of the two renovated rooms. A new door went on to the woodworking studio and a garage door in the rear.
Twin Valley Coop donated the paint. Volunteers got to work as soon as the drywall was complete. The pottery studio shown on the left was ready for classes by fall of 2016.
We received a ceiling mounted heater on loan from Ron and Jean Barteaux which is keeping the back room warm. Storage shelves have been hung from the ceiling to maximize floor work space. Wow!
With donated shelves, a purchased counter top and some local volunteer expertise, we have a new counter and shelves for supplies in the art studio. Slat wall above provides flexible display space.
With the generous assistance of the Manitoba Community Services Council, we were able to purchase a new pottery kiln in December of 2016, a new pottery wheel and six new tables for the front room. You can see the tables below in the Grand Opening pictures.
The first wheel we purchased earlier in the year with funds from the Birtle and District Foundation.
These two wheels and two on loan meant the season kicked off with a very busy ten weeks of classes as 2017 begins . The kiln has seen lots of action firing the pieces made in these wheel pottery classes
We held our Grand Opening and ribbon cutting in January, 2017 on Friday the 13th to celebrate completion of the Art and Pottery Studios ! We were pleased with the great turn out.
Mike Fulcher from Prairie View Municipality attended to officially cut the ribbon. (inside as it was blistering cold outside).
Guests enjoyed refreshments and toured the Art and the Pottery Studios and had a glimpse of the partially finished woodworking studio.
Click here for a VIDEO TOUR of the new pottery studio including our two new wheels and the pottery kiln. We are thankful for other wheels which we currently have on loan.
As we are gathered to celebrate the completion of Phase one, Susanne Burdette of the Birtle and District Foundation attended our Grand Opening where she presented a grant cheque for $4000 to our treasurer, Shirley Barteaux. These funds are to go towards Phase 2 – our heating system. It is great to have such wonderful community support!!
Also in attendance at the Opening were several instructors of classes held to date (and some double as committee members also).
In July of 2017 a new furnace and duct work were installed and are working and ready for fall weather… not that we are rushing it to arrive! Thanks to Old Guys Plumbing for getting the job done!
Manitoba Community Places, the Value Shoppe and the Lions gave financial contributions to this project.
Great progress was made in the woodworking studio in 2017
After this room was wired, insulated and drywalled in summer of 2016. As seen in the pics above, in spring of 2017, James and Tanner of James Copping Construction poured the concrete to level the floor. Dust proof lighting replaced the existing lighting and the wiring for a new electric heating system was done by Sean McDougall, the new electrician who now calls Foxwarren home.
Shopping for small and large carpentry tools is now complete. In addition to the large items already in the carpentry studio (table saw, shaper, mitre saws, and a lathe) we now have 2 drill presses, a jointer and a planer, added mitre saws, a scroll saw, a bench sander, hand tools, clamps and more. All you need for your small or large woodworking project.
The Building – Jesse Leclerc Blouin put the siding up on the exterior gables. Larry Schroeder repaired the exterior walls and a bunch of volunteers painted the north, south and east walls. Thanks to Twin Valley Coop for supplying 5 gallons of paint to put towards the project. In spring of 2018, James Copping spraypainted the west wall. It is higher (or the ground is lower… and uneven) and requires more ladder climbing and height tolerance. It looks great!
In 2017 we brought in some topsoil and we have planted trees courtesy of the Manitoba Hydro Forest Enhancement program grant. With the help and guidance from Rick at Plantland Nursery of Shoal Lake, we just beat the snow to have the front circle patio installed. It will serve as an outdoor classroom and resting area. In spring we will plant grass and a small flower garden by the patio. This will be the location of our Country Markets in summer of 2018. The patio, landscaping, ceiling and lights are all part of this almost finished phase of the renovation project. Donations from Tundra Oil and Gas, Vanguard Credit Union, Birtle Lions Club, Prairie View Municipality, the Birtle Value Shoppe, Manitoba Community Places Program and Manitoba Hometown Mainstreet grants and private individuals all contributed to the completion of this project. This continued support continues to warm our hearts and allow improvements to continue.
LIGHTS AND CEILING FOR THE ARTS STUDIO
Let there be light! Things have really brightened up since electrician Sean McDougall installed a new LED lights and KF Carpentry put up a new dropped ceiling over the Christmas break while no classes were happening at The Centre. What a difference! It is nice and bright even in the dark winter evenings.
MORE CONTINUES TO HAPPEN INSIDE
2 more pottery wheels – with the help of funds from the Birtle and District Foundation, two more pottery wheels were purchased in December of 2017. Thanks to Bill Wright for allowing us to use his wheels and tools until we were able to purchase our own. We now have a total of 4 user friendly pottery wheels which will be perfect for beginner and advanced pottery projects.
LANDSCAPING & MANY PARTNERSHIPS TO FINISH OFF THE OUTSIDE.
Rick from Plantland is back! To help resolve our elevation and
drainage issues, a small retaining wall that doubles as a seating area thanks to a convenient height and wide top cap again! Rick levelled things up ready for grass. The wall helps keep some of the soil in place rather than washing down the hill.
The Birtle Collegiate Landscape Construction Class and several community volunteers came to lay sod and you can bet we were all happy to see these young energetic people show up to help!
Valley Recreation District initiated a Community Garden project. They have placed 4 raised planters on our property. People in the community will be welcome to plant, care for and harvest from there space in the planters. Still to be done is to put up a fence to keep the deer from eating the produce.
A small perennial garden was planted between the patio and The Centre. Of course it features an obelisk built at The Centre.
So many volunteers of all ages! Thanks everyone!
Birtle in Bloom requested space for a garden shed to store their supplies and tools where they will be close to the parks and gardens they care for. This means there tools, etc. will be available to the volunteers regardless of who attends each week tools are stored or borrowed by different individuals on their committee. There will be room to also store the lawn mower for The Centre. The shed is being built with financial donations from the Birtle Lions Club, Birtle Value Shoppe, Prairie View Municipality, a private donation and it was built but the Birtle Collegiate Contruction class. The Classic Garden committee is delighted to see so many organizations able to make use of the space around The Centre.
Limestone rocks given to The Centre were used to create a shady rest space in north of the building and in close proximity to the Community Hall
With the support of Hometown Manitoba Mainstreet Program, we were able to purchse new planters for the front of our building and one for the patio. These Alfa Desert Planters have large reservoirs which means no more daily trips to water the plants. The reservoirs also help to keep the roots cool which despite the south facing building exposure.
We are so pleased with the finished exterior and landscaping!
NEW FLOOR – Good bye dust!
Pottery dust needs to be cleaned up using wet rags/mops. The concrete floors in the Art Studio and Pottery Studio were rough and difficult to clean effectively. In March we were able to cover the old concrete in with new commercial flooring. This means the floors can be maintained more much easier and to a much higher standard.
With dust able to be controlled, this opens up new possibilities for the space to be used for other activities!
Now that the new flooring is installed, our sewing program can begin. Under the supervision of seamstress, Shirley Barteaux, beginner sewing classes for youth and adults will soon be underway.
4 new sewing machines have been purchased and a storage cabinet is being constructed by the ever talented Bill Wright. It will match the one he made in the fall for pottery supplies.
In addion to the sewing classes, we are planning two events that will involve a weekend progam. We will invite instructors to offer instruction in quilting, sewing, and/or fibre arts. The new sewing machines will be available to the public to use during open studio times (after completing an orientation), These are some of the plans for programming in addition to the regular arts, pottery, knife making, and wood working that are offered throughout the year.
As we wind up our renovations, we recognize and say THANK YOU to our many sponsors: Manitoba Liquor & Lotteries and Tundra Oil and Gas and to the Birtle Lions Club, the Birtle Value Shoppe, the Birtle District Community Foundation, Manitoba Community Services Council, Prairie View Municipality, Twin Valley Coop Ltd, Vanguard Credit Union ( now Fusion Credit Union), Manitoba Community Places Program, New Horizons for Seniors Program, BCI students, and to the many businesses, organizations and community citizens who have contributed financially, supported our fundraisers, attended work bees to help out, and those who have attended classes and workshops. We can’t believe how far we have come and it is all because of your support that allows the renovations, programs and development of The Centre to continue.