‘Ten­ta­tive’ date for gallery re­vamp

The Dominion Post - - News - ELEANOR WENMAN

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.

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