What will be the first proper 'masjid' or mosque in Hamilton West is taking shape in Frankton.

President of the New Zealand Muslim League and Majid project manager Mohammed Hassan said the Waikato — Bay of Plenty Muslim Association had an existing centre on the corner of Boundary Rd in Hamilton East but around the year 2000 a decision was made to establish another for Hamilton West.

"Our population was growing in Hamilton and we decided it would be a good idea to have a centre in Hamilton West. We bought two sections in Frankton totalling about 3000 square metres, one with an old house which we have been using as a meeting and prayer centre for the Muslim community in the interim."

Hassan arrived from Fiji 32 years ago and has driven the project with design ideas drawn from his travels overseas and features seen in other Mosques. From his ideas architectural designs were created by Hamilton firm HBC Designs.

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"We had the plan done but couldn't start because of the Christchurch earthquakes brought in new structural requirements. This must be the strongest building in Hamilton, there's $150,000 of steel in it."

The project costs around $2.5 million, and is funded by donation and support from the Waikato and Auckland Muslim communities.

Principal contractor is Mitchell Construction and had enjoyed huge support from Mitchell Construction owner Colin Mitchell, Hassan said.

The design includes a ground floor with meeting room, kitchen and facilities. Men and women pray separately and the first floor provides a 400sq m prayer space.

When completed next year it will be the only mosque in New Zealand with a lift.

"Hamilton is my city and I wanted this building to become a land mark. In Hamilton there is no other building exclusively for the Muslim community. We have about 150 people in our congregation and a mix of people from all parts of the world."

A 'big' opening is planned for next year.

Finishing touches, including decorative stone work, will be completed over the next few years, Hassan said.

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