Work to make the Rotorua museum fit for re-opening could begin in July next year as the council makes progress on two of the big projects in its most recent Long-Term Plan.

Rotorua Lakes Council's Operations and Monitoring Committee was provided with an update on both the museum and the Sir Howard Morrison Performing Arts Centre at its meeting yesterday.

The performing arts centre was closed in November last year after it fell below earthquake standards, while the museum, a category 1 heritage building, was closed in November 2016 due to significant structural damage and inadequate seismic standards.

At the meeting the council's arts and culture director Stewart Brown provided an update on the museum.

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"Our key goal at the moment is to have cranes and scaffolding on site, ready for construction in July next year.

"We've just completed a seismic strengthening assessment, we've completed the concept design phase and we're now working through the various aspects of the developed design and that will progress into detailed design over the coming months."

Sir Howard Morrison Performing Arts Centre has been closed since November last year. Photo / File
Sir Howard Morrison Performing Arts Centre has been closed since November last year. Photo / File

Brown said because of the heritage components of the project, a lot of work was involved in the detailed design phase.

He said even erecting scaffolding was a "feat" and could take months in itself.

Deputy mayor Dave Donaldson said a lot of progress had been made on the museum project and the council had not been "dragging the chain".

"It has been a number one priority, certainly for yourself [Brown] and your team to crack on with."

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Councillor Charles Sturt said he was looking forward to the museum being reopened.

"I think it will be a massive event Te Arawa, Heritage New Zealand and the people of Rotorua and the Bay of Plenty should celebrate in a grand way."

The museum restoration has been estimated at $30m but Brown said steel prices and a fluctuating New Zealand dollar could impact the cost.

"A 10 per cent increase in steel or a swing in the New Zealand dollar could add $1 million to the project overnight."

Meanwhile, as of last month, the council had secured $9.75m of funding for the Sir Howard Morrison Performing Arts Centre.

This includes the council's own $4.5m commitment, $3m from Sir Owen Glenn and $1.5m from the Rotorua Energy Charitable Trust among others.

Artist's impression of the Sir Howard Morrison Centre by selected architect Shand Shelton. Image / Supplied
Artist's impression of the Sir Howard Morrison Centre by selected architect Shand Shelton. Image / Supplied

The council had also made funding applications to the Bay of Plenty Regional Council's Economic Development Fund for $2m, and completed expressions of interest for $4.8m of funding to the Government's Provincial Growth Fund.

In the next two months the council will work through a design phase and confirm layout designs and contract a project manager.

Brown told the committee the council was aiming for $18m for stage one and intended to apply for more funding in the coming months.

"The majority of that [funding] we'll know the decision by mid to late November.

"We're pretty confident we'll have 80 to 90 per cent of our funding secured by the end of November."

Artist's impression of the foyer at the Sir Howard Morrison Performing Arts Centre. Image / Supplied
Artist's impression of the foyer at the Sir Howard Morrison Performing Arts Centre. Image / Supplied

The council appointed architect Shand Shelton to complete the design for the seismic strengthening and refurbishment of the building in early August and released artist impressions.

The designs incorporate wood, stone and glass, and stage one enhancements would include ungrading the concert chamber to seat up to 300 people, extending the Civic Theatre to seat 1000 and general refurbishment of the main foyer, banquet room, other internal spaces, the building exterior, and external landscaping and lighting.

Both of the museum and performing arts centre were included in the council's 2018-2028 Long-Term Plan.

In the plan the council allocated $8.25m in 2018/19 and $6.75m in 2019/20 for the centre.

Restoration of the museum is expected to cost around $30.5 million with $500,000 allocated in the first year of the plan and $15m in both the second and third years.

In the plan the council assumes about half of the project could be funded externally.

The closure of both facilities has resulted in a loss of revenue for the council.