Flower bulbs and windows aren’t the only things opening up for spring in Oakville. Over the past 3 years, the former Queen Elizabeth Park High School building has been strategically transformed into a unique 144,000 square foot multi-purpose recreation, arts and culture facility to be known as Queen Elizabeth Park Community and Cultural Centre (QEPCCC).
After working with the town of Oakville as Supervisor of Sponsorship and Marketing for nearly 3 years, Sarah Douglas-Murray has recently been named Senior Manager of Cultural Services. She is now responsible for overseeing the operations of QEPCCC, as well as the operations of the Oakville Museum and the Oakville Centre for the Performing Arts. Sarah also has responsibilities in following through on recommendations laid out in Oakville’s Cultural Plan (as instituted in 2009), managing Oakville’s corporate art collection and public art policy, and as designated liaison with the Oakville Arts Council. Since many Oakville residents are not aware our town has a Manager of Cultural Services, we thought we’d introduce you to Sarah and have her tell you about the luxuries that await you when QEPCCC has its big reveal later this month --
“When I came to work with the town a couple of years ago, I was really impressed that there had been so much consultation with the community groups as to what facilities they really felt were missing, and that needed to be incorporated into the building. There is a fully equipped pottery studio with 15 wheels, 4 kilns and a spray booth in it. There’s a woodworking studio as well as a stone-carving studio. There are two ‘clean’ fine art studios and a ‘dirty’ fine art studio, as well as 2 other studio spaces, which we’re hoping will be homes for some of our resident groups. There’s a digital art studio that will be equipped with 12 state of the art Macintosh computers and all the relevant software, as well as a recording studio and a black box theatre that can be used for both workshopping and performances. It has capacity for about 200. There is a dance studio, as well as several large rehearsal rooms, including a rehearsal hall. There is also a fibre arts studio, which has several looms, sewing machines, and a dedicated dye room and storage room, for the many fibre arts groups that are in Oakville. There are two active living rooms with sprung wood floors that can also be used for dance. On the recreation side of things there is a dedicated youth centre and an older adults centre, so they will have rooms that can be used for drop-in and socializing. There are also two gyms – a single gym and a double gym. And we have just learned that the single gym will have a rock-climbing wall installed just after opening. Then there’s the aquatic centre with its 25 meter pool.”
Sarah believes QEPCCC is the only facility of its size in all of Canada offering a mix of both culture and recreation. She explains that - by investing in this facility - Oakville is drawing a parallel between the development of arts and culture and the development of recreation, at a more grassroots level. This is accomplished with small studio spaces intended for use by various groups. Sarah feels it truly is something wonderful to have a facility where people can take introductory classes then simply walk down the hall to the Youth Centre, or the Seniors Centre, or to the café, to further enrich their experience.
QEPCCC is set to spring open its doors on Saturday March 24th, 2012, at 2302 Bridge Road, with a full day of exciting activities and performances.