College in running for arts centre
Aotea College is rekindling hopes for a performing arts centre in Porirua, proposing to build a 500-seat facility.
The school made a submission to Porirua City Council’s long- term plan last week.
Aotea’s auditorium has been earmarked for a major upgrade for some time and there is an application to the Lotteries’ Community Facilities Fund for $20,000 to carry out a feasibility study, Aotea’s Board of Trustees deputy chair Nigel Sanson told councillors.
‘‘ Aotea College has a 300- seat auditorium that is under-utilised and we should think bigger for something that will benefit the whole city, if we get together and set a realistic target, we could make it happen. We see it as a facility appropriate for full community use.’’
Mr Sanson said they should know by July whether the Lotteries bid was successful. Further funding for construction would be sought from Lotteries and other organisations. The council, as project partner, would be asked to invest $500,000.
The council recently withdrew $3 million funding towards a Whitireia- led performing arts centre after the polytech backed out of the project.
Mr Sanson said there remained no venue in the city that could accommodate 300 to 500 people, and staging events in Wellington or up the Kapiti Coast was too costly.
He said sewerage and rubbish collection were important for Porirua, and money was spent on sport regularly, ‘‘but what about infrastructure on arts and culture?’’
Changing rooms, a commercial kitchen, reception room, dance studio, small meeting room and improved seating are anticipated in an improved venue. In response to questions from councillors, Mr Sanson said ownership and governance would remain in the hands of the school and, along with support in principle, $500,000 from PCC and $500,000 from Lotteries would go a long way to getting the centre built.
Councillor Ken Douglas said, ‘‘I agree with the concept in principle because the Whitireia-led proposal is not likely to go ahead, it’s in a real no man’s land.’’
Councillor Liz Kelly envisaged a partnership similar to Tawa College and Wellington City Council’s to build Tawa’s new gym.