29 August 2019
Masterton District Council has released details, including ballpark costs, of options for developing a civic centre.
The Town Hall and municipal offices were closed in June 2016 when they failed to meet earthquake standards.The Council has since been investigating options for building a new civic centre, alongside opportunities for the existing buildings and land.
The existing Town Hall structure comprises three separate buildings that are adjoined:
- the municipal offices where Council staff worked prior to its closure in 2016. The façade, which was built in the 1950s, is attached to this office building
- the Town Hall (auditorium) which sits behind the municipal offices
- an additional office block at the north end of the building.
Chief Executive Kath Ross said interest in the project was understandably high, especially leading up the local body election in October.
“The future of Masterton’s Town Hall is one of the most talked about matters in Masterton,” Ms Ross said.
“This is a complex project with numerous options; we are talking about three buildings rather than one and there are costs and benefits with each option.
“For example, the façade is actually part of the adjoining office building not the Town Hall and is not original. If the community wants this façade retained, there are additional costs involved.”
Ms Ross said financial costs were only one element to be considered.
“Certain options have an influence over what future development may be possible. For example, having a clean site with all buildings demolished provides more opportunity for design and footprint.”
The Council has also investigated demand for a civic centre/events facility. The resulting market demand and economic analysis study found a low level of demand for an events space.
A total of seven initial options for development have been initially explored, with the Council narrowing the options down to three for consultation. These options are outlined below with estimated construction costs and operating costs (which are in addition to construction).
Armed with more information about potential costs and likely demand, the Council agreed to consult with the Masterton community on its preferred option after the local body election in October. A full consultation document outlining options will be developed.
About the Town Hall:
The Town Hall and municipal buildings were built 1915, damaged 1942 and finally repaired in 1954, with the current façade.
The northern portion is a later addition, opened in June 1986. The rest of the municipal part of the building was also altered in 1986; the old “social hall” upstairs was converted into offices, new municipal chambers built and the Cody Lounge established in part of the building that was previously the library.
The current façade is 1950s, with the northern portion built to reflect the 1950s style.
In late 2017 we went out to the community to get initial thoughts on options for the Town Hall. We received 220 responses and almost two thirds (65%) preferred the option to build a new facility, over strengthening the existing town hall building.
In 2018 we asked the Masterton community for its thoughts on what we should do with the Town Hall. We presented three key options:
1. Build a new facility
2. Strengthen the existing building
3. Not replace the Town Hall.
The majority (59%) of people that responded told us they supported our preferred option of constructing a new building and the $15.5 million capital investment. More than one quarter (27%) said they would prefer to see Council strengthen the existing building.
As a result of the consultation Masterton District Council decided:
“to proceed with building a new civic centre. Future work will be undertaken regarding what this will look like and the location. This will include considering options on the current site and options to retain the existing façade with the replacement of the current town hall. Further consultation will be undertaken on the final proposal.”