The completion date for Ashburton’s new $56.75 million library and civic building has been pushed back again, and it could now open about a year after initially planned, with the council chief executive saying “significant pressure remains on the timeline and budget”.
Ashburton District Council chief executive Hamish Riach said the building “remains on schedule to be completed this year, with the opening planned for the fourth quarter of 2023”.
The original completion date for the building, named Te Pātaka a kā Tuhituhi and Te Waharoa a Hine Paaka, had been the end of 2022. But the council announced in February 2022 that delays from supply chain issues affecting the construction industry meant it would not be finished until the second quarter of 2023.
Riach said the delays had put the budget under significant pressure.
“The $20 million from the government’s ‘shovel ready’ project funding has reduced the original financial input from ratepayers, but significant pressure remains on the timeline and budget due to the ongoing uncertainty of the construction market,” Riach said.
“Supplies have been secured for all major elements of the project and so supply chain risks have been reduced.”
Progress had been visible recently, with the installation of exterior cladding and windows.
“The seismic frames for the windows and the glass arrived in December,” Riach said.
“The installation of the seismic frames occurred over the summer break and windows are going up currently. The facade materials and cladding system arrived in early January and installation is progressing well.”
Work on the interior was progressing steadily, he said.
“Plasterboard is becoming a dominant feature internally and it’s pleasing to see the community meeting and activity spaces taking shape.”
As the windows were put up, the external wrap would be removed piece by piece, revealing the face of the building he said.
“Expect to see workers tackling the roof installation next, while less visible, the internal lifts are due for April.”
Once the library and council relocated into the new facility, the fate of the old buildings had not yet been finalised.
Staff were working on options to present to the council he said, which included the sale of the old buildings.
“Other future plans are afoot, such as the decommissioning of the current buildings, relocation of equipment and books, and installation of technology and furniture.”
The Baring Square East upgrade was also set to begin soon, and Riach said the council was working with contractors to coordinate the timeline for other projects in the area, which “will be known soon”.
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Story Credit: rnz.co.nz