$15.7-million Surrey Museum expansion officially underway July 31

<p>Construction will break ground on Monday, July 31. The estimated completion date for the project is September 2018. (Sam Anderson)</p> -

Construction will break ground on Monday, July 31. The estimated completion date for the project is September 2018. (Sam Anderson)

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The $15.7-million Surrey Museum expansion project is officially underway.

Acting Surrey Mayor Vera LeFranc and Cloverdale-Langley City MP John Aldag gathered in the foyer of the museum on Thursday afternoon to announce the final funding numbers for the project. Construction is set to begin on July 31.

The expansion project will add 12,000 square feet of space to the museum's current footprint, tripling the size of the Kids Explore Zone, creating an Indigenous Hall, to be completed by collaborating with Surrey's Indigenous communities, and making room for a feature gallery that will be able to host national and international exhibitions.

The City of Surrey applied for $5 million in federal funding to assist with the project, and today they received it.

The federal government announced today that they will contribute $4,464,575 in addition to the $377,269 Canada Cultural Spaces Fund grant awarded to the project in February 2017.

"The Government of Canada is proud to support the expansion of the Surrey Museum, which will help ensure that many more generations can continue to learn about Surrey, British Columbia and Canada's rich history," said Aldag in a press release.

The City of Surrey will foot the remaining $10,789,656 of the project cost—bringing the project total to just over $15.7 million.

The federal funds will be provided through the Provincial-Territorial Infrastructure Component – National and Regional Projects, which was highlighted earlier this week when Aldag and Hepner announced the joint-funding of $5.8 million in upgrades for Cloverdale Athletic Park.

Heritage Campus

As a part of the expansion project, the 126-year-old Anniedale School and the 1881 Townhall will be moved to the museum site to join the Anderson Cabin and create a "Heritage Campus." The campus will also include the Surrey Archives, which operates out of the 1912 Municipal Hall, the Cloverdale Library and Veteran's Square.

"The new heritage campus will educate and entertain visitors as they explore our stories and communities," said Hepner in a press release. "The museum and campus will provide interactive and innovative perspectives about stories that link our communities with the relevant issues we face today."

Closed for construction

The museum will be closed as of July 30 and is set to re-open as the "Museum of Surrey" in September 2018, when the expansion is scheduled to be complete.

"The way things are going right now, between August and October of this year, the main infrastructure will get built," said Museum Manager Lynn Saffery. "Over the winter, the interior gets worked on. In the spring, when the rains stop, they can bring the [Anniedale] school and the 1881 Townhall over and then in the late spring they do the landscaping. That's the general timeline."

"The hope is that [museum staff] will be moving in by the spring. Moving in, training staff and then maybe some of the soft openings, fingers crossed. The official opening would be in September," he said.

The Surrey Museum will continue its work through extension exhibits, school programs and a portable children's program. A City of Surrey report states that the museum will engage with "at least 25,000 people" through these outreach programs, including staging an "Urban Fabrics" exhibit in the Guildford Shopping Centre and creating a travelling exhibit to celebrate the Francophone Association de Surrey's 30th anniversary.

The closure of the museum will allow for $500,000 in construction cost savings and about $100,000 in utilities, wages, security, according to the report.

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