Anonymous donor gifts $1 million to Darke Hall restoration

News Release Release Date: May 11, 2017 11:00 a.m.

Today the University announced a $1 million anonymous donation to the Darke Hall restoration project.  

“We are thrilled to accept this donation that will help us preserve Darke Hall,” said Dr. Vianne Timmons, President and Vice-Chancellor of the University of Regina. “This donor recognizes the significant cultural value Darke Hall brings to our community, and shares our commitment to restoring this space so that it can continue to be a premier vehicle for education, production and performance of music and theatre.”

Darke Hall requires significant repairs and upgrades in order to be used by the community as a performing space. Remedial work on the building envelope has been undertaken in conjunction with ongoing construction on the College Building, however more work needs to be done to bring the building into compliance with current health and safety codes, as well as ensuring the building is fully accessible.

“This gift is a significant milestone in our fundraising campaign,” said Timmons. “Given the amount of work required to restore the aged building, we are looking to raise approximately $3 million to complete the project. I know that the people of our University community, who have been so supportive, will step forward and help us accomplish this goal.”

Ilana van der Merwe is excited to get back on stage at Darke Hall.

“It is important for young students to have a place where we can perform, and Darke Hall is such a wonderful venue. But, the building was difficult to play in because it was in poor condition,” said van der Merwe. The 12 year-old cello student who has played at Darke Hall said news of the $1 million donation was like ‘music to her ears.’

BACKGROUNDER


Opened in 1929, Darke Hall has long-served as the premier concert hall in Regina. Benefactor F. N. Darke’s vision “to build a temple to the arts, and a centre for cultural activity” came to life as groups flocked to the space, prized for its acoustically-sound and visually stunning interior.
Centrally located in Regina at the historic College Avenue Campus, the once-bustling event space is currently closed.  

Generous support from donors funded exterior repairs; however, the building continues to need significant interior investments to make it a useable, accessible facility that meets code. To that end, an additional $2 million is needed to complete the Darke Hall restoration and once again provide state-of-the-art performance space that meets the needs of students, artists and other Regina performing arts organizations.

Announced in 2011, the College Avenue Campus Renewal Project is the University’s priority capital fundraising project. It is aimed at restoring and preserving the historic campus, enabling it to continue as an economic, educational and cultural hub for the city of Regina.