Sir Howard Morrison Performing Arts Centre Updates – June 2017

Thursday 8, June 2017 | News |

26 June 2017

The Sir Howard Morrison Performing Arts Centre has re-opened following completion of work to strengthen a wall of the Concert Chamber as a temporary measure ahead of future earthquake strengthening.

The Concert Chamber, which was part of the original 1938 centre and was incorporated into the current building during its redevelopment in the mid-1990s, will remain closed to allow for detailed seismic assessment of that part of the building in preparation for earthquake strengthening.

The length of the closure will depend on the outcome of the detailed assessment, which is part of work that was already underway to develop a plan for earthquake strengthening. Council is working with Heritage New Zealand regarding the assessment as the Concert Chamber is a Category One heritage building.

14 June 2017

Work to temporarily strengthen a wall of the Concert Chamber in Rotorua’s Sir Howard Morrison Performing Arts Centre should start this week.

“We’ve now received a plan for the work from our engineers and are talking to contractors to get it done as soon as possible,” says Rotorua Lakes Council Chief Financial Officer Thomas Collé, who manages the team responsible for maintaining council-owned buildings.

“Work on the wall is expected to take two to three days and we can then re-open.”

The performing arts centre was closed last Thursday to enable the precautionary work to be done quickly and efficiently. The decision followed a discussion last Wednesday with engineers about a potential issue with the strength of an internal wall. It was decided to undertake work immediately, as a precautionary measure, to strengthen the wall until earthquake strengthening of the building can be done.

“There is no damage to the building but we decided to take a conservative approach and to get the precautionary work done as soon as possible,” Mr Collé says. “We want to re-open as soon as possible and while we understand there is a degree of uncertainty amongst organisers of events scheduled for the centre, at this stage our timeframe for re-opening has not changed from our initial estimate of two weeks.”

A total of 23 meetings, events and shows were booked for the two-week closure period. New venues were found for a number of bookings last week and one more change has now been confirmed with the Kelvin Cruickshank show on 24 June moving to the Energy Events Centre.

Last week’s Capital E – Songs of the Sea show was cancelled and organisers of the 1 July Howard Morrison Jnr Spirit of Our People Tribute Concert have made the decision to cancel. “Council staff have been working with organisers of events scheduled during the two-week closure period to help them relocate,” Mr Collé says.

“The Concert Chamber, which was part of the original 1938 centre and was incorporated into the current building during its redevelopment in the mid-1990s, will remain closed after the centre re-opens as we are heading into detailed seismic assessment of that part of the building in preparation for earthquake strengthening.

“The length of the closure will depend on the outcome of the detailed assessment, which is part of work that was already underway to develop a plan for earthquake strengthening. Council is working with Heritage New Zealand regarding the assessment as the Concert Chamber is a Category One heritage building.”

The upcoming Rhapsody Rotorua and Rotorua Speech and Drama events will still go ahead at the performing arts centre. Aspects of these events which were to be in the Concert Chamber may move to other spaces.

Temporary closure announced

8 June 2017

The Sir Howard Morrison Performing Arts Centre will be closed for about two weeks to enable temporary remedial work to be done ahead of earthquake strengthening.

Rotorua Lakes Council staff are working with organisers of events scheduled for the centre during this time to find alternative venues where possible.

“We’ve known the facility needed earthquake strengthening for some time and this work has been programmed into our planning,” says Rotorua Lakes Council Chief Financial Officer Thomas Collé, who manages the team responsible for maintaining council-owned buildings.

“We’ve been working with consultants to understand exactly what needs to be done. A discussion with engineers yesterday highlighted a potential issue and it was decided we should take a cautious approach and get some immediate remedial works done, as a precaution, while we await a detailed seismic assessment.

“This is to ensure we can continue to use the facility until the earthquake strengthening can be done,” he says.

“The short-term closure means we can get the temporary remedial work done quickly and efficiently. We want to re-open as soon as possible.”

The performing arts centre has previously been identified as requiring earthquake strengthening and that work has been included in Council’s Long-Term Plan. Earthquake strengthening of the library building and the iSite, and detailed assessment of the museum, are already underway.

Councillors were advised of the temporary closure of the performing arts centre at this morning’s Strategy, Policy & Finance Committee meeting.

Ticketmaster services have temporarily relocated to the Energy Events Centre (EEC) and ticket holders will be contacted directly by Ticketmaster about any changes.

Staff working with event organisers

Staff are contacting centre users and event organisers and working through options with them including re-locating events to other council venues like the Energy Events Centre, or finding other alternative venues in Rotorua. Just one has decided to cancel – the Capital E show which was scheduled for tomorrow [Friday] and is targeted at schools.

There has been a positive response from clients and users – they have been very understanding.  There were 23 bookings for the next two weeks, 13 of these for Rotorua Museum’s education programme for which alternative venues are being found.

A corporate hospitality dinner linked to the Lions tour has been re-located to the Energy Events Centre and staff are looking at options to relocate the Lions Tour public bus hub.

Several events have already been moved to alternative venues such as the Energy Events Centre and local hotels and staff will continue to work with clients in an effort to ensure events can still go ahead.

Affected bookings

  • 13 Rotorua Museum school programme sessions with visiting schools
  • Capital E – Songs of the Sea show
  • Public Service Association of Hamilton meeting
  • Rotorua Lakes Council and Trustpower Rotorua District Community Awards
  • Stage Challenge and J Rock 2017
  • Boney M Concert
  • Te Wananga o Aotearoa Graduation
  • AB Hospitality Dinner (Lions Tour)
  • Lions Tour Public Bus Hub
  • The Royal Family Dance Crew
  • NZ Bloodbank Services

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