New Brunswick

Permanent main stage planned for Officers' Square

The city of Fredericton is getting a new main stage in its historic Officers’ Square as part of its redesign.

New stage is part of an $8.9M makeover of the historic square

According to architect Monica Adair, the stage will work for small shows and bigger performances. (City of Fredericton)

Fredericton is getting a permanent main stage at historic Officers' Square as part of an $8.9 million makeover of the downtown space.

The stage will cost $400,000 and be made of corten steel, also known as a weathering steel because it rusts in the elements and forms a protective outer layer. 

"We wanted to find an element that's both recyclable and durable, but beautiful," said architect Monica Adair of Acre Architects.

She said the steel will age well and look good with other buildings in the area. 

The stage will be built next to the Fredericton Region Museum, with the library behind it. 

"The way it rusts and patinas over time gives it texture that blends in with the brick buildings and juxtaposes against the stone in a way that brings it to life," Adair said of the steel.

The steel is perforated to give the stage good acoustics and make it visually interesting at night. 

"It creates optical illusions in terms of a moiré pattern, and it also has a light passage in between giving it a little bit of a light show during the night," Adair said. 

The stage will work for both small and large shows, she said. 

Master plan

The stage is part of a larger plan to upgrade Officers' Square. (City of Fredericton )

Coun. Bruce Grandy, the chair of the planning and development committee, said the upgrade of Officers' Square, which was announced earlier this year, is important considering all the events that take place there. 

"We wanted to reconstruct Officers' Square to make it vibrant, to make it more accessible," said Grandy. 

"The plan is to create this great space, this great meeting space, this great event space for festivals."

Grandy said there will still be a tent in the square for the Harvest Jazz and Blues Festival. The new stage will be an additional venue. 

Flood-proofing

Stephen Kopp and Monica Adair are architects with Acre Architects, which designed the stage. (Gary Moore/CBC)

A short time ago, the area where the stage would be was underwater. But Acre partner Stephen Kopp said the architects have already planned for such calamities. 

The stage will be built up above high-water levels, so next time there is a major flood, musicians could serenade the fish without getting their feet wet.

"There is now way to flood-proof the structure, but we have planned in accordance with high-water marks," said Kopp.

"The stage actual height is going to be at 9.32 metres. I think this year's flood was in the 
mid-eights."

The base will be made of stone, and Kopp said electrical equipment can be easily flood-proofed. 

Construction of the stage will happen next year.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Philip Drost is a journalist with the CBC. You can reach him on Twitter @phildrost or by email at philip.drost@cbc.ca.

Files from Information Morning Fredericton

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