Expect a burst of building activity at the Kapiti Performing Arts Centre construction site early next year.

The ground works have been completed and the concrete foundation is in place awaiting a building tour-de-force.

Kapiti College principal Tony Kane said a lot of work, such as panelling and steelwork, was being carried out off-site.

But by about early February, over a period of about three weeks, "there will be a building there".

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"Forty-five truckloads of panels going up."

Mr Kane said the arts centre, in the college grounds, would be just under twice the size of the college's new gymnasium.

His comments were made at a function on Thursday where some of the key supporters toured the site and enjoyed some musical performances.

Sonia Manson, 17, from Paraparaumu College, performs a song on the foundation of the Kapiti Performing Arts Centre.
Sonia Manson, 17, from Paraparaumu College, performs a song on the foundation of the Kapiti Performing Arts Centre.

Cas Carter, who is on the arts centre's board, said the centre started out as a school project.

"We could have built something just for the school but when Tony went out and started talking to the community there was a very strong response to say we need something for the community that helps us to grow the performing arts within the schools but also within the community itself and to showcase it," she said.

"It's great to see it taking shape."

She said the arts centre started out as a $4 million project but was now a $10m project.

"The good news is we're nearly there.

"We only need $800,000."

Ken Young, a contributor to the New Zealand music scene for many years, initially as a principal tuba in the New Zealand Symphony Orchestra and then as a conductor and composer, said the opportunities for college students and the greater community "to use a facility like this to enlarge their art and their capabilities as artists and young professionals is just extraordinary".

"I can't think of anything else in New Zealand quite like this, especially in the school grounds."

Many performing groups and soloists, both nationally and internationally, would "benefit enormously from this".

"I've been playing in, and conducting, performances of various types in small venues in Wellington for over 40 years.

"And it's very frustrating trying to find a place with good acoustics, good facilities and a big enough capacity, let alone a [orchestra] pit.

"I'm very excited and can't wait for this to open."

Kapiti Performing Arts Centre facts box:

* Coastlands Theatre: about 330 seats with a 17m x 9m stage, orchestra pit and quality acoustics

* Black box theatre for drama performance, with sprung floor

* Foyer with ticket office, cafe and toilets

* Spaces/classrooms for music, dance and drama teaching

* Small spaces for rehearsal and recording, and office space

* Support spaces including green room, dressing rooms

* Storage areas