28 November 2017
At today’s Whanganui District Council Property and Community Services Committee meeting, the Council agreed to earthquake-strengthen the War Memorial Centre to 67 per cent of the New Building Standard (NBS).
With the exception of the Sarjeant Gallery Redevelopment Project, the upgrade of the Centre will be the last prominent Council-owned building to undertake earthquake strengthening. It follows the strengthening of the Alexander Heritage and Research Library, the Whanganui Regional Museum and the Royal Wanganui Opera House.
Before making its decision, the Council discussed whether to strengthen the Centre to 34 per cent or 67 per cent of the NBS. The costs of the project, which includes deferred maintenance are $3.94M and $4.59M respectively.
The Council’s General Manager – Property, Leighton Toy, explained that upgrading to only 34 per cent of the NBS, as opposed to 67 per cent would require extra space to accommodate the heating, ventilation and air conditioning for the Concert Chamber, which would add significant cost.
“Excluding the deferred maintenance projects, there is a difference of $390,000 between the two seismic strengthening options. This is a very reasonable cost for the substantial difference in benefits. We will also apply to the Lottery Grants Board for a contribution to the work to off-set costs to the community.
“Within the 10-Year Plan, $3M has been budgeted toward the cost of the seismic upgrade for the War Memorial Centre to 67 per cent of the NBS, with $1.5M budgeted in the 2017/18 and 2018/19 years. At the same time, we will also be doing maintenance and redecorating, seating and carpeting, flooring and electrical maintenance and weatherproofing.
“It’s great the Council has decided to go with the 67 per cent upgrade as it gives us more bang for our buck.”
The seismic upgrade involves securing non-load bearing masonry walls with additional steel poles to join inner and outer skins and adding a reinforced shear wall structure on the forecourt near the main entrance. Structural steel frames will be inserted at the rear of the auditorium and in the Concert Chamber
A Seismic Upgrade Project Team, made up by Council officers and architects, engineers and surveyors, who recommended to the Council that it upgrade to 67 per cent of the NBS, will work closely with the staff at the War Memorial Centre on the project.
Construction, which is estimated to take six to eight months, is likely to start after Anzac Day 2018. The work will be divided into two separate timeframes so the venue can be used for the Masters Games in 2019.