A windfall for the Whanganui community has come in the form of a grant of more than $600,000 from the Lottery Environment and Heritage Committee toward earthquake strengthening the city's War Memorial Centre.

The grant goes toward the $4.59 million project to upgrade the centre to 67 per cent of the New Building Standard. The building needs to be strengthened for the safety of the people who use it and to preserve the building itself.

Leighton Toy, Whanganui District Council property general manager, said of the project's total cost, $2.5 million is for the strengthening work, and the remainder for deferred maintenance, including electrical and lighting work and a carpet upgrade.

"We are very thankful to the Lottery Environment and Heritage Committee for the grant for our largest function centre, as well as their recognition that this is an important building nationally, for its post-war architecture and heritage status," Toy said.


He said the seismic upgrade involves bolting existing double block work within wall cavities and installing new steel columns which are tied to the walls.

There will be some changes to the exterior visual structure, including cleaning the block work on the outside of the Pioneer Room and waterproofing it.

The centre's green room will also be made bigger to house the heating and ventilation system which will be visible from the outside.