The new addition to the Dal Arts Centre includes a 300-seat concert hall, innovative practice and rehearsal spaces, and the new Costume Studies studios that will create enhanced opportunities for students and a new cultural venue for Halifax.

Despite shutdowns caused by the third wave in Nova Scotia, construction continues apace on both the new wing and the revitalized existing building. Walls and windows, as well as the lobby glass wall, have been installed in the new wing. The lobby roof is in place, and interior 'rough-in' work continues.

New wing.

Meanwhile, the new ramp and stairway leading to the University Avenue entrance are nearing completion, and will soon be ready to welcome guests as we are able to gather together again. Additionally, the new glass 'lightboxes' are in place on the front of the building, adding more natural light and new interesting spaces in the existing Arts Centre building.

The new lightboxes, stairs and ramp on the University Avenue facade.

Construction is proceeding really well, as you can see from the pictures below. The steel framing is giving shape to the structure. Soon we will be able to see the full outline of the new building.

One silver lining, resulting from the cancellation of all live performances at the Arts Centre this fall, is that construction inside the building will be able to proceed without interruption. Originally, this interior work was slated to pause with the start of the academic year and Symphony NS season. Now, with the continuation of work through the fall, we expect the renovations to the inside of the Arts Centre to be complete by the end of December. This early completion date will help ensure the rest of the project stays on pace to meets its completion date in 2021.

The steel framing is giving shape to the structure.

Dalhousie is grateful for The George W. Wilson & Teresa Madelyn (Merriam) Wilson Foundation’s support and shares with them a common goal to enhance the lives of people living in communities across Atlantic Canada. The arts and culture sector offers significant opportunities to bolster our region, as an economic driver that creates jobs, attracts and retains talented staff for the region and grows associated sector such as tourism. It also increases societal wellbeing by providing enjoyment, entertainment and engagement for a multitude of audiences.

Through Dalhousie University’s Performing Arts Campaign, the university will strengthen the regional and national cultural scene by setting a new standard in arts education and increasing the quantity, quality and diversity of opportunities for emerging and established artists, arts organizations and audiences in the region for generations to come.

Architect’s conceptual rendering of the revitalized exterior of the existing Dalhousie Arts Centre

The campaign will provide much-needed upgrades to the Dalhousie Arts Centre. This revitalization work will improve audiences’ experiences and the facilities’ accessibility, while extending the life and energy efficiency of the building through needed upgrades to operating systems and spaces. These improvements include a more welcoming, accessible and attractive foyer, improved air quality throughout the building and enhancements to the iconic Rebecca Cohn auditorium.

The expansion will also bring all the Fountain School of Performing Arts’ programs under one roof, including the Costume Studies program, which for decades was housed off campus. The new wing will also include rehearsal and performance spaces, including the Joseph Strug Concert Hall.  This exceptional new 300 seat performance space, purpose-built for music, will support the sounds of everything from a solo voice recital, to a chamber orchestra or jazz ensemble. Strug Hall will serve music students and will be available to external arts organizations and partners in the community to present new music, local festivals and competitions, filling an essential gap in mid-size venues in Atlantic Canada.

A period costume is displayed next to the design sketch of the piece.

Jacob MacDonald, third-year music student from Hants County, Nova Scotia, performs at the Fountain School’s annual Concerto Night.