Rotorua Museum Update December 2018

Monday 17, December 2018 | News |

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Rotorua Trust has agreed to commit $10 million towards the rebuild of the Rotorua Museum, with Trustees unanimously agreeing that the rebuilding and reopening of the Museum is a key priority for the Rotorua community at this time.

 “The Museum/Bath House is seen as a symbol of our community and it is imperative that the facility be open again as soon as possible,” says Rotorua Trust chairman Stewart Edward.

The detail around the structure and timing of the contribution will be worked out with the Council but Rotorua Trust understands making this commitment will enable Rotorua Lakes Council, which has allocated $15million to the project through its latest LTP, to help unlock further funding opportunities with Central Government to complete the project.

“This is an iconic building for both our community and the thousands of visitors who choose New Zealand and Rotorua as a destination. We acknowledge the cultural significance of the site to Te Arawa  and the historical and economic impact of the building to our community.”

The Trust has a strong relationship with the Museum – granting $4.7 million towards the building’s extension in 2009. It also owns a substantial art collection which is usually on display there.

In supporting the Council’s approach to Government, Trustees have been diligent to ensure that the Trust’s regular community funding remains available for distribution.

“Ahead of making the decision to support the museum, we worked alongside the Trust’s investment partners considering various funding scenarios. Trustees are very aware that we need to make sure there will still be funds available to help the wide variety of Rotorua organisations that look to the Trust for support each year.

“These grants help organisations, big and small, to achieve our kaupapa of making a better Rotorua for all. We are happy to say they won’t be affected by any contribution we make to the museum”.

Rotorua Mayor Steve Chadwick says Rotorua Trust’s commitment is “fantastic news” and highlights the importance of the museum to the local community.

“Reinstating and reopening our museum is an absolute priority for Council, as it is for our community. It features as a key project in Council’s long-term plan and this very generous $10 million contribution will provide us with the impetus we need to attract further external funding from Central Government.

“All the design and planning is nearing completion and we are busy pursuing all funding opportunities.

“On behalf of Council and the community I’d like to thank Rotorua Trust for its generosity – the trust is a very important supporter of Rotorua and we acknowledge its substantial contribution to our community over many years.”

Museum project update

Planning for the Rotorua Museum project is on track for resource consent to be lodged this week to strengthen and restore Rotorua Museum.

Housed in a category 1 heritage building, the museum was closed for safety reasons in November 2016 following a rapid seismic risk assessment that determined the building was earthquake prone.

Since then a huge amount of behind-the-scenes work has been undertaken to determine in detail the condition of the entire building and the ground on which it sits.

Working closely alongside Heritage New Zealand, a number of options to repair the building were then evaluated before engineers from GDC developed structural concept designs for the preferred option.

Concept designs across all aspects of the project, including architectural drawings, electrical, mechanical and fire design plans, are now complete, enabling the resource consent application to be lodged.

Resource consent approval will enable a range of other project steps to start, including some significant funding applications. In the meantime the architects and engineers are continuing to develop the design to ensure the project is ready to start construction phase in July 2019.

During the long term planning round earlier this year, Rotorua Lakes Council agreed to commit $15 million towards the seismic strengthening of Rotorua Museum. The project team is currently working hard to source the balance of funds externally.

In October 2018, all remaining objects, artworks and taonga were removed from the building into safe storage in preparation for the start of building works.

What has happened since Rotorua Museum closed?

  • 18 November 2016: Rotorua Museum closed following a rapid seismic risk assessment which determined the building was earthquake prone
  • December 2016 – August 2017: Research, destructive testing and analysis to determine in detail the condition of the building and the ground on which it sits
  • August 2017 – December 2017: Four structural strengthening options were evaluated, and the preferred option selected
  • December 2017: Detailed seismic assessment was completed which rated the building at 19% of new building standard. Buildings below 34% are considered earthquake prone, while those under 67% are considered earthquake risk
  • December 2017 – February 2018: Engineers GDC developed the structural concept design for strengthening the building, for review by Rotorua Lakes Council and Heritage New Zealand
  • February 2018 – December 2018: Structural design developed into detailed drawings and specifications with estimated costs
  • June 2018: Rotorua Lakes Council long-term plan signed off following community consultation. Council approved $15 million towards strengthening the Rotorua Museum building with the balance required to be sourced externally
  • November 2018: Opus appointed as project managers

Next steps for the Rotorua Museum project

  • Now: Developed design phase underway
  • Jan – July 2019: Detailed design phase
  • July 2019: Contractor procurement and construction commencement
  • July 2019 – 2020: Construction
  • 2020 – 2021: Exhibition development and installation prior to Museum reopening

Museum project funding

Council committed $15 million towards earthquake strengthening of the Bath House building as part of its 2018-28 Long-term Plan which was approved in June.

Rotorua Trust’s $10m commitment will help Council unlock further funding opportunities with latest costings at between $40m – $47m and detailed design and planning nearing completion.

All funding opportunities, including with Central Government, are being pursued.

With support from Council, Rotorua Museum Centennial Trust, chaired by Lyall Thurston QSO JP, will lead fundraising for the project. The Trust also led the successful fundraising programme for extensions to the Bath House building from 2006 to 2011.

Brief history of the Bath House building

1908: Rotorua Bath House opened by Admiral Sperry of the American Fleet

1911-12: South wing addition completed

1947: Bath House transferred to the Health Department

1963: Bath House transferred to Rotorua District Council along with a grant of $64,000

1965: Tudor Towers restaurant, and later nightclub, took up lease of upstairs area

1969: City of Rotorua Museum opened in South Wing

1977: Rotorua City Art Gallery opened in North Wing

1988: Art Gallery and Museum amalgamated

1990: Tudor Towers restaurant and nightclub lease expired

2006: North Wing viewing platform reinstated – Stage I of Centennial project

2008: North Wing gallery extensions completed – Stage II of Centennial project

2011: South Wing gallery extensions completed – Stage III of Centennial project

16 November 2016: Rotorua Museum closed for earthquake strengthening on the Bath House building