One of Saskatoon’s most popular museums is in for a facelift.
The Western Development Museum (WDM) announced plans Monday to upgrade the Saskatoon location’s battered parking lot as part of a $2.3 million infrastructure project.
“We have a lot of supporters who come to events at the museum and we get lots of feedback in terms of how difficult it is sometimes to navigate the current parking lot, especially when it rains,” Saskatoon WDM manager Jason B. Wall said.
“We’re going to deal with the biggest problem that we have with our parking lot, which is our drainage,” he said. “We’re going to have a brand-spanking-new parking lot for all our visitors and patrons to enjoy.”
Visitors will pay an infrastructure fee starting later this summer to help cover some costs of the construction.
“We have a lot of support out there for this project, but we still are short some, so one way we thought we could cover that cost was with a very modest increase to our admission prices,” Wall said.
General admission will increase by two dollars, while admission for seniors and students will cost a dollar more.
ASL Paving Ltd., Catterall and Wright Construction will be running the project. Construction is set to begin later this week and is expected to wrap up by Oct. 31.
Storm sewers and weeping tile will be installed in the first phase of the project. From there, a new water line and a revamped front entrance will be put in before paving and new concrete barriers complete the project in the fall.
The museum, Boomtown Café and gift shop will all remain open during construction. Pion-era, one of the WDM’s most notable summer attractions, has been cancelled this year to make way for the work.
“Not having Pion-era this summer was a very difficult decision made by both staff and management here at the museum,” Wall said. “It is one of our flagship events for sure. We’re going to come back with a brand new parking lot and a big celebration at our Pion-era for 2019.”
Community and private donations account for just under $700,000 of the project budget. The province has added a $250,000 grant, with the City of Saskatoon contributing $38,326 from the Cultural Capital Grant program and another $25,000 from the Community Initiatives Fund’s Community Places and Spaces Program.