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Millennium Place price tag finalized


The final price tag for Maurice Young Millennium Place will be just over $6.9 million and it will be open March 28, when the first Whistler Film Festival will occupy the hall.

Construction costs have been finalized and work is progressing to meet the March deadline, but the Maurice Young Millennium Place Society is still $1.75 million short of its fund-raising goal.

Steve Milstein of the Whistler Skiers Chapel Society also told Whistler council Monday that the building will include a recording studio. Milstein said Kibwe, the Congo-born recording artist who lives part time in Whistler, has $250,000 worth of recording equipment in storage. "We made a deal and he’ll move the equipment into the hall," Milstein said.

The recording studio will be good enough to record demo quality discs, Milstein said.

Maurice Young Millennium Place started as an interfaith chapel but the plans have expanded over the years to become a multi-use community facility. The building, located next to municipal hall on Blackcomb Way, will include a teen centre, day care facilities, workshop and meeting space a concession and perhaps a TicketMaster outlet. The centrepiece of the building will be the Franz Wilhelmsen Hall, which will be used as a place of worship by a number of religious faiths but can also be used for public meetings, films and small scale theatre performances.

As the functions planned for the building have increased so has the price. Three and a half years ago the Whistler Skiers Chapel Society announced $2 million was the fund-raising goal. In early 1998 the price tag was $3.1 million; by the end of the year it was $5 million. Last year the figure commonly used was $5.6 million.

In announcing the final cost of $6.9 million Monday Milstein said that all construction costs are now fixed and there is no provision for cost overruns. He said fund-raising for the final $1.75 million was proceeding well.

Millennium Place will be operated as a non-profit organization, with the intent of breaking even each year. However, Milstein said it’s unlikely the building will break even in its first year.

A stratafied rate structure for booking space in Millennium Place was also unveiled by Milstein. Local non-profit groups will get first priority. Out of town non-profit groups and local for-profit groups will be charged according to a second tier rate structure. Out of town for-profit groups will pay the highest rate.

Other details about Millennium Place that have been finalized include:

• The municipality will rent the teen lounge and provide two municipal staff to supervise activities. A group of local teens have been given a budget and are deciding what sort of equipment and furniture will go into the space.

• Jeanette Callahan is heading the day care committee. The day care will likely be open from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. "but we’ll keep it open to midnight if that’s what the community needs," Milstein said. The day care facility is intended for community families. If space is available it may be made available to resort visitors.

• Bob Adams, co-owner of The Grocery Store and Market Catering, has offered to help manage the concession with the teens. Any profit realized by the concession will go back into the teen centre.