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WGHS events centre construction resumes

Flagstaff Team

Behind schedule… An artist’s impression of the new event centre

Earthworks are again under way for the new events centre at Westlake Girls High School.

And a community fundraising push to help raise the final $2 million needed to pay for the much-needed facility is soon to launch.

The multipurpose building on the southern corner of the school’s Taharoto Rd site will seat 1300 people. It replaces a smaller hall.

The $10 million centre will have a large stage and a foyer suitable for exhibitions and functions. Flexible backstage space will support performances and be used for teaching and music.

The school’s strategic relationship manager, Kim Dowden, was looking forward to kickstarting fundraising. “We’ve been planning this campaign for a while now and we’re excited to finally launch it once we are at Level 2,” she said.

“This event centre will provide a heart for our school – a place for our students to gather, perform, learn and socialise. We also see it becoming part of our wider community, including Westlake Boys High School, schools in our Community of Learning (COL) and local groups. It’s been a long time in the making, and we’re excited to see the foundation finally starting to form.”

Westlake’s property manager, Grant Brown, says work on the site halted in February when a small amount of contaminated soil was found, and then once construction was able to begin again, alert level 4 came into effect. “We are currently awaiting the release of a revised construction programme, but it’s safe to say we have fallen behind schedule.”

Matua Eddie Hudson at the ground-breaking ceremony in December last year

Contractors were back onsite installing drainage and digging the foundations. It was likely the building, estimated to cost $10 million, would be completed in May next year, rather than earlier in 2021.

“Because our students aren’t at school, we are definitely making the most of this opportunity to complete as much as possible.” Restrictions under Level 3 around social distancing meant things were a little slower, but progress was still pleasing “We hope Level 2 will be even better,” Brown said.

Dowden said the final $2 million to be raised would include money from flexible sponsorship opportunities for businesses or individuals, including naming rights and the purchase of a seat with a commemorative plaque.

To find out more, please email Kim at kdowden@westlakegirls.school.nz.

This article originally appeared in the 15 May 2020 edition of the Rangitoto Observer.

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