U of A Students' Union announces plan to renovate Myer Horowitz Theatre

The Students' Union at the University of Alberta says it will renovate the 49-year-old Myer Horowitz Theatre at an expected cost of $11 million. A fundraising campaign is kicking off Friday with the announcement of a $40,000 grant from the government of Alberta.

Project will cost $11 million and be completed in 2018

The Horowitz Theatre during an October 2010 taping of CBC Radio's The Irrelevant Show. (John Ulan)

The University of Alberta Students' Union said Friday it will undertake major renovations to the 49-year-old Myer Horowitz Theatre at an expected cost of $11 million.

"Campus needs a modern theatre, and just patching it up isn't enough," Marc Dumouchel, general manager of the Students' Union, said in a news release.

"The arts are a key element to developing well-rounded graduates and the theatre is a key link between campus and the broader community."

When the 720-seat concert hall opened in 1967 inside the Students' Union Building at 89th Avenue and 114th Street, it was known as SUB Theatre.

Its name was changed in 1989 to recognize the contributions of outgoing U of A president Dr. Myer Horowitz.

Roughly 100,000 people attend events at the theatre each year. In 2015 it had 202 event days. The venue hosts everything from concerts and comedians to plays and dance competitions.

The Students' Union has awarded the contract for renovations to DIALOG, with Stephen Boyd as principal-in-charge and design architecture lead.

DIALOG has worked with other Edmonton theatres including the Francis Winspear Centre for Music, the Citadel Theatre and ATB Financial Arts Barns.

DIALOG and Boyd were also behind a renovation of the Students' Union Building that was completed in 2015.

"We'll think they'll do a great job re-invigorating the Horowitz Theatre, which has been an iconic Edmonton venue for almost 50 years," Dumouchel said in the news release.

Of the $11 million needed for the project, the Students' Union hopes to raise $7 million through its own fundraising efforts.

The government of Alberta is contributing $40,000 through a Community Facility Enhancement Program grant.

More details are expected Friday afternoon at a news conference attended by university officials and cabinet minister Lori Sigurdson, whose Edmonton-Riverview riding includes the U of A north campus.