PCL Construction Canada Inc. has started work on the $110 million National Arts Centre renovation project.
The centre on Elgin Street remains open through the project, as the contractors implement the design by architects Diamond and Schmidt.
The project calls for improved performance spaces, public areas for education and events, improved accessibility for people with mobility challenges and “a magnificent glass entrance”
The NAC says the work schedule is moving forward more quickly than originally anticipatedt to ensure its new atrium and entrance onto Elgin Street would be open for Canada Day 2017 and its new banquet room finished by January 2018, CBC has reported.
In an email, an NAC spokesperson said work was originally going to start in June after the end of its 2015-16 season.
The NAC said in a letter to supporters that it would schedule construction outside performance hours, or between midnight and 2 p.m. ET on weekdays, so evening and weekend performances can go ahead as planned.
“A certain number of school matinées and daytime performances and rehearsals taking place during the week will have to be cancelled or moved to other halls within the NAC, or to other venues across the city,” it said.
The NAC’s Fourth Stage will close from spring 2016 until July 2017, but it said many shows and community events will be held in other parts of the building.
Its “le café” restaurant will be closed for lunch from Jan. 4, 2016 to June 26, 2017, but will be open for dinner.
There will also be a new, temporary 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. box office at a yet-to-be-named location near the NAC. The release said will be an “oasis from the construction zone,” while its main box office will be fully operational from 5 p.m. to 9 p.m.
Outside the building, hoarding will start going up on Elgin Street and the northeastern side of the NAC terrace overlooking Confederation Square and the National War Memorial in December or January.
In an earlier news release PCL said as its “Ottawa district celebrates its 25th year in the nation’s capital, we are very excited and proud to be working with the National Arts Centre in Ottawa and playing an important role in transforming this Canadian landmark.
“As we approach Canada’s 150th anniversary in 2017, this renewal will bring great energy to the downtown core by showcasing the performing arts, education and introducing new event spaces with one of the most beautiful views in the country,” said Kevin Skinner, vice president and district manager for PCL’s Ottawa operations. “We are truly excited about this project and we see similarities with a theatrical experience. Over the next two years we will rehearse, bring the program together and enable the public to watch the show as it unfolds.”