GCI Community Amphitheater restoration project remains on hold


The restoration of the GCI Community Amphitheater is expected to cost double what was expected before the pandemic.

The fate of the Galt Collegiate Institute Community Amphitheater hinges on its ability to secure a significant increase in funding.

“We really need to focus on grants and fundraising,” said Jamie Colwell, a GCI graduate and member of the Friends of GCI Community Amphitheater. “If it hadn’t been for our group, the amphitheater would have been destroyed.”

Built in 1978, the outdoor amphitheater could still serve multiple purposes for both the school and the community, ranging from an outdoor classroom to a musical performance venue.

In its current state, with rotting benches having been removed and fenced off from the public, little more than an eyesore remains.

“When I was in school, we were there all the time,” Colwell said. “It hasn’t been used for several years. There is a whole generation that knows nothing about it.

The group anticipates that it will need 75-80% of its funding to come from grants, with the remaining amount coming from fundraising initiatives. Colwell and his team reviewed a long list of grants, including from the Region of Waterloo Arts Fund, the Kitchener-Waterloo Community Foundation and the Ontario Arts Foundation.

From a school board perspective, Matthew Gerard, Coordinating Superintendent, Business Services and Waterloo Region District School Board Treasurer, says he is more than happy to be involved in the revitalization of the project, but that there is a long financial way to go before his vision can be realized.

“The Waterloo Region District School Board, and specifically the Galt Collegiate Institute, are pleased to partner with community groups such as the Friends of GCI to work on options for revitalizing the GCI Amphitheater,” said Gerard. “The amphitheater requires capital investment to revitalize the space, with a particular focus on safety and accessibility.”

Gerard agrees the once-popular amphitheater could provide useful space for the school and surrounding area, but it just comes down to dollars and cents. Many of the cost estimates were made before this pandemic. With inflation and a change in the overall price of goods and services, the council would need to rehire an architect to determine a new dollar amount for the project.

What we do know is that it won’t be cheap. Colwell estimates the cost to fully restore the amphitheater will be around $1 million. That’s more than double the pre-pandemic cost.

Without funding, the dream of completing the project is waiting with no end in sight.

“There are currently no plans for further work at this site until funding has been secured,” Gerard said. “No deadline has been set at this time and there are no plans to set a deadline.”


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