The Sir Howard Morrison Performing Arts Centre project is officially moving into its deconstruction phase.

The performing arts centre shut in November 2017 for earthquake-strengthening and redevelopment.

Rotorua Lakes Council said today the $22.5 million of funding had been secured and deconstruction work was set to start next week.

This will involve removing internal wall linings and ceilings, lifting floors and removing technical and mechanical equipment into storage for reuse once the centre reopens in 2021.

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The first phase is currently underway with tenders due mid-November. Photo / File
The first phase is currently underway with tenders due mid-November. Photo / File

The deconstruction phase will ensure the building is ready for the start of the main construction phase early next year.

Five companies were invited to tender for the construction contract, in a two-phase tender process. The first phase was currently underway with tenders due mid-November.

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A detailed evaluation process will follow, resulting in a shortlist of contractors who will move onto the second phase of tenders.

Construction was due to start early in the New Year.

Rotorua Lakes Council's manager of arts and culture Stewart Brown said the complex nature of work meant only a limited number of companies had the experience and capacity.

The first phase is currently underway with tenders due mid-November. Photo / File
The first phase is currently underway with tenders due mid-November. Photo / File

"The multifaceted project involves seismic strengthening, a Category 1 heritage building, and the complexities of its geothermal location, so it presents a number of unique challenges."

The project was also entering the final stage of design, with the architects and engineers now working on the detailed drawings and specifications.

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Meanwhile, the next stage of the Rotorua Museum Project is drawing near with the tender process now rolling. The category one heritage building was closed in 2016 following a seismic assessment made after the Kaikoura earthquake.