Carleton University’s Board of Governors has approved a motion to begin negotiating the potential purchase of Dominion-Chalmers United Church for use as a multi-purpose performance space for Carleton students and faculty, and as a new hub for artists and community groups.
The decision follows a due diligence process completed by the university this year. The recommendation to proceed to acquire the property is subject to the negotiation of a satisfactory purchase and sales agreement, including appropriate legal caveats.
“The acquisition of this unique community asset would provide valuable performance space for Carleton students and faculty that isn’t available on the main campus,” said Alastair Summerlee, interim president and vice-chancellor. “By creating this downtown hub, we are renewing an important link with the Ottawa community that had the bold vision to create Carleton in 1942.”
Academic programming at the site will be interdisciplinary and primarily focused on music, drama and performance. While a new campus will not be created, the multi-purpose space will provide opportunities to expand program options in the Faculty of Arts and Social Sciences, potentially including exhibit space for the Carleton University Art Gallery.
Groups such as the Ottawa Writers Festival and the Chamber Music Festival have indicated an interest in continuing to use the facility. Renewed spaces in the building will be leveraged to forge new partnerships with additional arts and community groups.
The Dominion-Chalmers United Church congregation will continue to use a small amount of space in the building.
“The heritage building’s physical structure is in very good shape” says Michel Piché, vice-president finance and administration at Carleton. The intention will be to preserve the historic exterior and complete some internal renovations and upgrading to meet the needs of the academic community. The site will not be subject to further development by Carleton, at this time, and the parking lot will remain.
No capital outlay is required by Carleton to support this project, as funds have been raised from external public and private sources. The many partners involved in the project reflect its community nature.
Elected and administrative officials at the City of Ottawa are providing guidance to the project partners in relation to approvals. David Hayman, representing the church congregation, has been vital in advancing discussions with all partners.
About Carleton University
Located in the nation’s capital, Carleton University is a dynamic research and teaching institution with a tradition of leading change. Its internationally recognized faculty, staff and researchers provide more than 30,000 full- and part-time students from every province and more than 100 countries around the world with academic opportunities in more than 65 programs of study, including public affairs, journalism, film studies, engineering, high technology, and international studies. Carleton’s creative, interdisciplinary and international approach to research has led to many significant discoveries and creative works in science and technology, business, governance, public policy and the arts. As an innovative institution, Carleton is uniquely committed to developing solutions to real-world problems by pushing the boundaries of knowledge and understanding daily.
About Dominion-Chalmers United Church
The church merged two key congregations from the Methodist and Presbyterian traditions, each possessing long histories. Church buildings have undergone major renovations. The large sanctuary has been used for concerts and other special events, sometimes of a national nature.