‘Tentative’ date for gallery revamp
An extension to Upper Hutt’s Expressions Whirinaki gallery has been given a ‘‘tentative’’ start date of early 2019.
The extension will include a heritage gallery telling the stories of Upper Hutt, a climate-controlled space for the Pumpkin Cottage collection, a creative workshop for groups, including school groups, and a kitchen added to its recreation hall – all designed by Athfield Architects.
Upper Hutt City Council’s community services director, Mike Ryan, said the council was hoping to tender for contracts later this year, with construction starting in early 2019.
‘‘That’s the tentative timeline.’’
Councillors voted unanimously to pay for one third of the extension in 2016.
Although the project was initially estimated to cost $4.2 million, Ryan said the bill had risen to $7.4m. ‘‘We’re still working with Athfield [Architects] to bring those costs down without impacting the end result.’’
He said the council relied on information from contractors and others to determine the cost.
‘‘At the moment, costs are going up by 7 per cent a year and the
‘‘We don’t want to stand still, we want to keep reaching for the future.’’ Expressions director Leanne Wickham
initial pricing was done in 2016.’’
The extension was first presented to the council as part of the city’s Long Term Plan consultation in 2015. A feasibility study, commissioned by the council in 2016, supported the extension.
The Expressions Whirinaki Trust had committed to finding two-thirds of the funds. It had raised nearly $3m since 2017, Expressions director Leanne Wickham said.
That included $500,000 from Lotteries Environment and Heritage, $200,000 from Hutt Mana Trust and support from Heretaunga Rotary and the Upper Hutt Cosmopolitan Club.
‘‘[The extension] delivers on our promise to be a regionally significant centre of arts, culture and heritage,’’ Wickham said.
‘‘Our planned extension will allow us to grow more into meeting the needs of our community and the wider region. We don’t want to stand still, we want to keep reaching for the future.’’
The extensions will be built at the rear of the building, adding more than 240 square metres.
The trust is holding a Diamonds and Ice Charity Auction dinner on April 28 at the gallery. Up for grabs are a diamond pendant, a night at Silverstream Retreat, a family photoshoot and craft beer or wine.