Construction of the Bulls Community Centre should begin in October after more than three years of planning, fundraising and heated debate.

The centre is being built on the site of the old Criterion Hotel in the Rangitikei town and will function as a town hall, library, public toilets, youth area and a one-stop-shop for council services.

Whanganui company W&W Construction has been awarded the contract by Rangitikei District Council after a tender process.

"We've pushed the go button," Mayor Andy Watson said.

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"It's hugely exciting. We had a lot of consultation and a lot of the discussion with the community and schools around the function and form of the new building."

The project will likely take 15 months to complete - meaning it could be finished by Christmas next year.

The community centre was first signed off by council in 2015 but put out to a second round of public consultation in 2017 before council voted to proceed a second time.

Just what ratepayers will pay for the project they are underwriting is not yet known as fundraising efforts for what is likely to be a $6 million bill continue.

More than $1 million has been raised from various grants and community fundraising and council was hoping to get some support from the Government's provincial growth fund.

The council is also working with Central House Movers to renovate a house alongside the community centre that will be auctioned to raise money.

The Criterion Hotel in Bulls was demolished in 2015 to make way for the Bulls Community Centre and a private development. Photo/ Bevan Conley
The Criterion Hotel in Bulls was demolished in 2015 to make way for the Bulls Community Centre and a private development. Photo/ Bevan Conley

And once the centre is up and running council will sell surplus property, including the old town hall, to contribute towards the cost.

Councillor Jane Dunn, an early driver behind the centre, said it had been a long time coming.

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"There have been a lot of people who worked very hard on this project for the last few years. It's been a real team effort and it's great to see the outcome."

The RDC is in a joint-venture partnership with DT Holdings which will be developing the rest of the site.

Watson said the centre would be a focus for the town and used by a wide range of people.

"It's a modern way of doing things. It's a much more efficient way of doing it because you've got staff in one place rather than spreading them out."