In November 2019, Whanganui District Council passed a resolution to proceed with construction of the Sarjeant Gallery and to award the main construction contract to McMillan & Lockwood PN Ltd.
This contract for $20 million is for construction of the new wing of the gallery. It also allowed for a variation to the contract, so it can be changed to include earthquake-strengthening of the original gallery building at a later date. This variation will be presented to the council before it is awarded.
There is understandably considerable community interest in and speculation about the final cost estimate for the redevelopment, but this is commercially sensitive and must remain confidential until we complete our contracting process.
Gaye Batty, project director for the Sarjeant Gallery Redevelopment, is working meticulously and professionally with the budgets and plans for this redevelopment to keep costs manageable, in line with community expectations.
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We have completed a revised design of the seismic strengthening solution for the existing gallery and this is now subject to negotiation with the main contractor to ensure efficiency of construction and best value.
At the same time planning is under way for cultural and archaeological monitoring and treatment of any findings unearthed during the excavation of the site at Pukenamu Queen's Park and a site access and parking plan is being developed which we should soon be able to share with the public.
The original Sarjeant Gallery has been blessed by Te Runanga o Tupoho so that work can commence on the lifting and protecting of its timber floors ahead of restoration works.
Gaye Batty's updates are published regularly in the Whanganui Chronicle and will document each stage of the project as it unfolds.
Whanganui District Council's website has a project page where timeline and construction information is kept updated. An information sheet and videos are available on the Sarjeant Gallery's website, where you can also find out about the Sarjeant Gallery Trust and its remarkable fundraising journey.
Kym Fell is Whanganui District Council chief executive