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In with the new

New and modern was the clear winner during Council discussions about Ngatea’s new library last week.

After deliberating on two options put forward by the Ngatea Library and Service Centre Working Party, the Council decided to replace the old building with a new purpose-built library and service centre on the same site. The other option under consideration was to upgrade the old library and service centre building to try to bring it up to modern standards and meet the needs of the community.

Only one real option

“Originally we intended to ask the community for feedback on both options but the more we discussed the challenges and opportunities on the table, the clearer it became that there was really only one option.” Mayor Toby Adams said.

He said the Council had paid for some initial concept designs, but the cost of continuing to investigate both options would quickly escalate when it was already clear it would be more feasible to start afresh. 

“Building new will make it easier to create modern spaces that meet the needs of the community; the life expectancy of the new building will be at least 50 years, and starting afresh will allow us to position the building in a way that makes the most of the current Hugh Hayward Domain location.”

Too many unknowns with old building

He acknowledged that the old building held some importance to the community but he said the Council also needed to be realistic about its financial responsibility to its ratepayers.

“There are just too many unknowns with the old building. It makes much better financial sense to invest money in a new purpose-built building than it does to spend money on investigating an option that may not even be feasible at the end of the day,” the Mayor said.

The Council has done some preliminary work on the viability of upgrading the old building, but if it were to continue down that path, there would be more investigative work to do. This includes looking into the risk of liquefaction; earthquake strengthening and asbestos removal; and the cost of meeting modern accessibility and fire safety standards. 

“We also don’t know what’s hidden within the walls until we start renovating,” the Mayor said.

Much more than a library 

Now it has some clear direction from Council, the Ngatea Library and Service Centre Working Party will go away and further refine the new build concept design. Working Party Chair and Deputy Mayor Paul Milner says community feedback on what should be included in the new building is still very much front of mind.

“We know this is going to be much more than a library and we’re excited about bringing the community’s vision for a welcoming, modern, multi-purpose community space to life,” Milner said.

“Once the proposed design is ready we’ll share it with the community at our Ngatea office and online.”