Detailed plans have been released for Rotorua's new library and children's health hub, that include a new name for the complex, an extension to Jean Batten Park and an official opening date.
The $12.3 million project when completed will incorporate library services and Lakes District Health Board (LDHB) child outpatient and support services.
The two services will operate independently of one another with the health board a tenant in the council-owned building and contributing $4 million to the total cost of the project.
Rotorua district councillors were taken on a walk through the complex this afternoon following a meeting of the Operations and Monitoring Committee. A request from the Rotorua Daily Post to join the tour was declined.
At the meeting the council's strategy and partnerships group manager, Jean-Paul Gaston, and Nga Mahinga Toi chairman Bryce Murray, led a presentation to councillors regarding design concepts for the new facility with Mr Murray announcing the gifting of a new name for the building: Te Aka Mauri.
Nga Mahinga Toi is a group of iwi leaders brought together to guide the design along with council and DHB staff.
Te Aka means vine/interconnection and mauri means life force or essence.
Mr Murray said the name reflected the shared values of the library and the LDHB to create a facility of excellence to advance wellbeing and understanding in our community.
He said inspiration for the designs of the building and park were drawn from Maori stories of creation, exploration and discovery, enlightenment and collaborative strength.
Jean Batten Park will undergo safety treatments to make it more pedestrian-friendly for library and health hub users.
Mr Gaston told the committee the project was ahead of schedule with the opening planned for November 25, coinciding with the date in 1881 when the Fenton Agreement was signed gifting land for the town of Rotorua to be established.
He said the council was in the process of securing funding for four smaller projects that would further enhance the area, but these were not part of the original budget and would not go ahead unless funding was found.
These were for video and multi-media walls, a "Makerspace" for interactive educational experiences, a site for an interactive display for a copy of the Fenton Agreement and a recording studio.
Three grants totalling $200,000 had been confirmed and would be announced by the funders in due course, Mr Gaston said.
Rotorua Library director Jane Gilbert said through layout and design it was intended to create an experience that was about much more than just getting books.
She said the new layout would include meeting rooms, with one in the area previously occupied by a cafe, which will also have external, after-hours access.
Library shelving will be movable so additional space can be created as required.
Outside the building, Jean Batten Park will be extended and Haupapa St will undergo safety treatments to make it more pedestrian-friendly for library and health hub users.
The new park would have ground-level trampolines and geothermal-themed play areas.
The project is being managed by Fletchers with seismic strengthening progressing, structural steel work complete, timber and steel stud framing and roofing almost complete, and installation of services under way.
Overall, councillors were pleased with the project, but Rob Kent raised the issue of parking for the 60 LDHB staff moving to the building, along with library staff.
Councillor Tania Tapsell said it was "truly inspirational" saying libraries and hospitals were two of the most important features of any community.
She was told there would be no changes to staffing levels at the library and there were no plans to change the library's book stock dramatically.
Library and Health Hub
- Building to be named Te Aka Mauri
- Official opening on November 25, the anniversary of the signing of the Fenton Agreement in 1881
- Jean Batten Park upgraded to include a children's playground
- The project is ahead of schedule and on budget
- The council is looking for partners to invest in four smaller projects