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GRANDE PRAIRIE – The D Coy Community Hub Project, an initiative to restore the D Company (D Coy) Armouries building, has taken another step forward after the Rotary Club of Grande Prairie pledged $1.8 million to the cause. Following a nearly unanimous club vote, Rotarians agreed to contribute to the restoration of an important gathering place in Grande Prairie with visions of it becoming a ‘community hub.’

D Coy Armouries currently hosts several programs, including the Air and Army cadets and the Play Zone summer camp. It was built in 1942 as a drill hall for D Company of the 2nd Battalion of the Loyal Edmonton Regiment, and its last major renovation took place in 1990. The current project proposes to extend the building northward by approximately 21 metres (70ft) and easterly by approximately 8.5 metres (28ft) to allow for expanded washroom facilities, onsite storage, meeting rooms, classroom space, and a full kitchen.

The total cost of the project is estimated at $3.1 million, meaning another $1.3 million in funding is still needed for the project to proceed.

Scott Hagarty, Commanding Officer of the Grande Prairie Army Cadets, said he hopes the community will support this campaign, given that D Coy Armouries is in such great need of an upgrade. “We have completely outgrown the building. It does not meet our needs anymore,” he said.

Hagarty adds the Army and Air Cadets are important fixtures of the community. Unlike many youth programs in Grande Prairie, the Cadets do not charge a registration fee to join. Hagarty says Cadets programs give many kids from low income families the opportunity to become involved in meaningful, community-oriented activities. “If we could get a new building, it would give us more opportunity to engage youth in Grande Prairie at no cost,” he said. “But in order for our program to continue, we desperately need something more modern.”

Rotarian and project lead Andy Stewart says he hopes that the restoration will support more than just the Cadets and YMCA, benefiting the community as a whole. “The long-term vision for the community hub is to provide a central access point for a range of activities. YMCA North has already committed to providing its Alternative Suspension program,” he explained. “In addition to youth programs, we hope community associations and other not-for-profit groups will make use of it as well. This is about promoting strong and vibrant communities.”

The D Coy Community Hub Campaign is still seeking partners and supporters. Anyone interested in supporting the campaign is encouraged to contact Andy Stewart at 780-897-7833.

Information provided by The Rotary Club of Grande Prairie.