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War Memorial Conference Centre upgrade planned

The War Memorial Conference Centre in Napier will likely close for several months from April 2016.

Subject to a final business case and design, Napier City Council decided to bring forward a planned upgrade to allow required earthquake strengthening work to be completed at the same time.

A recent seismic assessment has rated the building at 20 – 25% NBS (new building standard). This does not mean the building is structurally unsound in normal conditions, but strengthening of the building will be needed.

A notice will go up at the Centre on 1 July advising customers and users of the seismic rating. The number of people able to use the building at any one time will be limited to 300.

The upgrade, which was supported by many submitters to the Long Term Plan (LTP), was originally signaled to start in 2023.

“We’re in a similar situation to Wellington’s St James Theatre building. They received the same rating and, like us, will continue to trade until their strengthening work commences,” said Napier City Council Chief Executive Wayne Jack.

Councillors, who decided at a meeting today to formally adopt the LTP, agreed that pending them being satisfied with the business case and design concepts, it was better to carry out the required work at the same time as the extension to minimize disruption to the Centre’s core business.

The work and upgrade is estimated to cost $5.1m and will likely occur from April 2016 to January 2017.

“While it’s never ideal having to close a venue, the result will be a fully refurbished and strengthened building which will attract larger conferences to the region while also meeting future demands from the market, allowing us to compete with other national venues,” Mr Jack said.

Staff will continue to be employed by Napier City Council during the period of closure.

1 July 2015

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