Construction is complete ahead of schedule on the $10.2-million Kenojuak Cultural Centre and Print Shop and the keys have been turned over to the Hamlet of Cape Dorset and the West Baffin Eskimo Co-op.
The Co-op has already started moving pieces into the print shop, according to senior administrative officer John Hussey, who described the 10,400-square-foot building as "beautiful."
"It's state of the art for the North. It's going to be a great asset for this community going forward," Hussey said. "It's going to create employment for some people, it's going to be very good for local residents and also very good for attraction of tourists."
On March 1, Hussey and Mayor Timoon Toonoo had just completed drafting a job ad for the cultural centre's general manager. A receptionist will also be needed along with a few casual staff and summer students, Hussey added.
Toonoo said hamlet officials inspected the building and he gave contractor Kudlik Construction praise for their work.
"They did a good job," he said.
Alain Fournier, project manager on behalf of Iqaluit-based architectural firm Panaq Design, also credited Kudlik Construction for its role.
"We had good cooperation with the contractor, Kudlik in this case. They went ahead confidently and we were there to support them," Fournier said. "It was good teamwork."
The government provided the bulk of the funding for the project but the project required $3 million from private donors. A fundraising initiative overshot that mark, hitting $3.2 million in December with financial help coming from the community and across the country.
"The community itself, through bingos and all, managed to contribute quite a lot of money as well," Fournier said. "The community was really behind the project."
Because there's still a great deal of setting up to do, the grand opening likely won't take place until late summer or early fall, Hussey noted. Fournier added that consultations will be held with local residents for guidance on exhibit themes.
"This is a big thing for Cape Dorset," Hussey said. "It's going to continue to ensure that the skill of carving, print and drawing is going to be continuing on and maintained in the community by the local people and hopefully will help instill the idea these skills and abilities will transfer down to the next generation."