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VUW confirms support for Town Hall music centre, commits $10m for first stage

News from VUW
The establishment of a world-class national centre of music in Wellington’s Civic Square is a step closer with Victoria University of Wellington’s Council unanimously confirming its support for the venture.

The centre, which is a partnership between Victoria University, the New Zealand Symphony Orchestra (NZSO) and the Wellington City Council, will become a home of musical performance, education, culture and the arts with the Wellington Town Hall as its focal point.

Victoria’s Council has approved initial funding of $10m for its contribution to the first stage of the project, which involves the redevelopment and fit out of the Town Hall’s main auditorium, the Debating Chamber and Ilott Room to provide central city rehearsal and performance spaces for Victoria’s New Zealand School of Music (NZSM) and the NZSO.

The NZSO Board has also confirmed its support for the venture.

The Wellington City Council is currently seeking public feedback on the project, which will see ratepayers contributing $89 million to earthquake strengthen the Town Hall ahead of the internal redevelopment. The Council will make a decision on the project in June.

The second stage of the project, which has been approved in principle by Victoria’s Council, would create a nationally significant centre of musical excellence taking in adjoining buildings to provide teaching and administrative space in the existing Municipal Office Building, creating a central city home for the NZSM and NZSO.

Because of the significant costs involved in the second stage of development, Victoria Chancellor Sir Neville Jordan says the University and the NZSO will require a successful fundraising campaign to raise at least 16% of the overall cost of the project through philanthropic and partnership financial support, with the University and the NZSO meeting the remainder of the second stage development costs.

“This is an exciting initiative for Wellington,” says Sir Neville. “A national centre of musical excellence will bring together the burgeoning talent of young musicians in the NZSM with the mastery of the NZSO, and fill the Civic Square with music.

“The Council’s unanimous support for funding the first stage of this project shows the strength of our commitment to the capital city and the Wellington region.

“This centre will bring many benefits to Wellington and New Zealand and we look forward to working with the community and corporate sector to secure the philanthropic and partnership financial support needed to make it a reality.”

Former Wellington Mayor Kerry Prendergast, a Victoria University of Wellington Foundation Trustee, is Fundraising Chair for the joint Victoria/NZSO project.

“I have always been passionate about the capital city’s Town Hall. It has amazing acoustics and to know that it’s going to be strengthened, restored and turned into the focal point of a national centre of musical excellence, with the NZSM and the NZSO as foundation tenants, is really exciting.”

Wellington Mayor Justin Lester says the music centre will be another major boost for the city’s arts and culture scene.

“It’s very encouraging to see our partner organisations taking this step and it’s a big vote of confidence in the arts and culture scene in Wellington.”

NZSO Chief Executive Christopher Blake says the NZSO is very pleased that Victoria University has confirmed its support for this groundbreaking venture.

“The concept to bring together the NZSO and NZSM will produce a huge range of opportunities and benefits for musicians, students and audiences.”

Locating the NZSM in the heart of the capital city and alongside another significant national institution (NZSO) and Wellington’s civic administration centre will enliven the civic centre and bring new audiences for musical activities says Professor Jennifer Windsor, Pro Vice-Chancellor of the Faculty of Humanities and Social Sciences at Victoria.

“NZSM is New Zealand’s leading music school, offering the widest range of study options including the only music therapy course in the country. Locating it at the heart of the new national centre of musical excellence will lead to growth in our student numbers and programmes, ensuring a sustainable platform for future artistic and academic development and further building the School’s reputation in New Zealand and the Asia-Pacific region,” says Professor Windsor.

“The new centre will also give the public greater opportunities to enjoy performances by NZSM students in world-class venues and give our students opportunities to work with the NZSO and form other industry connections while they study and after they graduate.”

The total cost of the full project is forecast to be $187 million.

At last: a partnership for the Music Centre

September 2015: Athfields hired to prepare concept designs

8 comments:

  1. Lindsay, 10. May 2017, 16:55

    At last! The long-delayed commitment from VUW gives some hope for the even-longer-delayed reopening of the Town Hall.

     
  2. Justin Lester, 10. May 2017, 18:27

    Work’s underway, opens June 2021. [via twitter]

     
  3. Simon, 15. May 2017, 14:31

    “The total cost of the full project is forecast to be $187 million”. Is that right? That’s 50% more than the cost of Wellington’s largest commercial building, the Asteron Centre. To put it another way, it’s $2,500 per household. It seems to make no sense when there is a post-earthquake shortage of office space and a lack of affordable housing in Wellington.

     
  4. Casey, 15. May 2017, 15:17

    For a project that started out at $40 million and now is nearly five times that before any work begins, serious questions need to be asked. Not disagreeing about the need for such a facility, but a replica building with the best features salvaged from the present one would seem a better option for ratepayers.

     
  5. What's Up, 15. May 2017, 16:10

    How come the Town Hall strengthening project has leaped from a cost of $58million to a $187million project as announced by Victoria University? Are ratepayers subsidising an education “business”? We are owed a clear explanation from our councillors, and from VUW and the NZSO .[The budget for strengthening the Town Hall is now $89million, which the council announced in March; the total Music Centre budget involves much more than the Town Hall – and now includes the Municipal Office Building for teaching and admin space; the second stage will be paid for by VUW and the NZSO.]

     
  6. Andrew, 15. May 2017, 18:50

    Will the public be excluded from the town hall now Vic is involved? There used to be a wide range of events; will their interest in the town hall exclude others from using it? [They’ve said the Town Hall will be available for public use, but not the Ilott Theatre, which will be fulltime for the Music School.]

     
  7. Daz, 15. May 2017, 22:07

    How can the cost have mushroomed to that extent? Beggars belief – they must have Waterford crystal toilet seats !
    The public deserve a thorough explanation.

     
  8. Michael, 15. May 2017, 22:31

    Is this how it all works:
    Stage 1: Ratepayers contribute $89 million to earthquake strengthen the Town Hall ahead of the internal redevelopment
    Victoria’s Council to fund $10m as its contribution to the first stage of the project, which involves the redevelopment and fit out of the Town Hall’s main auditorium, the Debating Chamber and Ilott Room.
    Stage 2: The creation of the centre of musical excellence taking in teaching and administrative space in the Municipal Office Building. The University and the NZSO will raise at least 16% of the overall cost of the project, with the University and the NZSO meeting the remainder of the second stage development costs?
    So does this mean: $89 million from ratepayers, and $91 million from the University & NZSO?
    Plus Stage 3? $?m to relocate the council from the Municipal Office Building into another building?

     

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