Col­lege in run­ning for arts cen­tre

Kapi-Mana News - - NEWS - By KRIS DANDO

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.

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