Schematic Design for new farmers’ market building unveiled
At a public presentation on Thursday, August 16th, a schematic design for a new farmers’ market building was unveiled. The design, done by Archibald & Fraser Architects Ltd., was a project led by ARDA as the first step in implementing the Eastern Nova Scotia Exhibition Grounds Master Plan.
“The Antigonish Farmers’ Market is one of the busiest markets in the province,” says ARDA Development Officer, Alisha Grant. “It’s a great community event that is outgrowing its current location. The schematic design is the preliminary design concept of a new building.”
ARDA and Archibald & Fraser Architects Ltd. started the design process in early February by carrying out a needs assessment of each of the user groups and conducting interviews with various community stakeholders. These user groups included the Antigonish Farmers’ Market, 4H, Eastern Nova Scotia Exhibition Commission, the Antigonish Arena Commission, Antigonish Minor Hockey, VOICES, and the Antigonish/Guysborough Federation of Agriculture.
“Through the consultation process we created a shopping list of requirements from each of the user groups,” says Dale Archibald, principal-in-charge and project architect. “The master plan proposed a new, free-standing building for the market at the front of the property facing James Street. From speaking with the various groups, we realized a new addition to the front of the Antigonish Arena was a concept worth exploring.”
The new proposed building would be 17,500 square feet and be a true community space. It’s a storey and a half and designed as a multi-purpose building. It outlines space for 47 stalls in the middle of the bottom floor, with 17 more permanent stalls around the perimeter. It also includes space for 13 stalls outside that would be covered by an overhang roof. The large open space of the main level will offer a flexibility to accommodate a variety of community events.
“The main floor also includes four retails spaces,” explains Archibald. “Dedicated full time retail space has two main benefits. The market has always been a place for new businesses to start-up. These retail spaces could be a place for them as they grow and expand. It also adds to the sustainability of the building from a financial standpoint.”
There is also a kitchen, an eating/dining area, storage, and washrooms. The second level includes up to five offices which could be used by the market, minor hockey, or 4H, a meeting room, and two multi-purpose rooms.
“This second level was designed to fulfill the needs of some of the user groups. For example, the two multi-purpose rooms could be used for off ice training for hockey players and figure skaters, they could be used as hospitality rooms for tournaments, a place to hold banquets, etc. It’s almost a mini-convention centre,” explains Archibald. “And both levels would be attached to the Arena by a walk-way.”
The roof would have dormers letting in sunlight to the centre of the building and the half storey creates a bright, airy building. There is also potential to heat the space using the waste heat from the Arena. Sustainability will be considered in choosing systems and finishes for the building.
“This proposed building would give our market the potential to expand in terms of how many vendors can be set-up to even extending its hours,” says Grant. “This in turn helps local farmers, small businesses, and artisans.”
The Antigonish Farmers’ Market currently operates every Saturday starting in May to the end of December. From May until the end of October, it uses what is known as the 4H barn at the exhibition grounds. This building is not heated and therefore, in the past, caused the market to find an alternate location for November and December.
The Antigonish Exhibition Grounds Master Plan was completed last year by Ekistics Planning and Design of Dartmouth. It focuses on the role of the site in the community, the needs of the various current and future user groups, vehicular, pedestrian, and animal circulation, landscaping, current and future infrastructure, as well as the governance of the site.
“Ekisitics saw an opportunity to bring the market to the front of the grounds making it more visible and accessible and ultimately giving it the opportunity to expand,” says Grant. “This design accomplishes all of that.”
The next step will be to develop a business case to examine how much the building would cost to build and operate. This schematic design estimates the cost of the building to be $3.5 to $4 million.