Quake fears lead to school hall closure

STACEY KNOTT
Last updated 09:15 06/05/2014
Nelson College Hall
COMMUNITY VENUE: Bargain hunters at last year’s Rainbow Snow Gear Sale held at Nelson College Hall. The organisers are now looking for another venue.

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Nelson College has temporarily closed its school hall after a low seismic rating.

Headmaster Gary O'Shea said the decision was "conservative and precautionary" , and while inconvenient, it needed to be done.

Rainbow Ski Club were told yesterday the its annual sale would not be able to held this weekend on the school grounds and were now looking for another venue.

The school has also had to postpone its Anzac service, which was due to be held this week.

"It will be the first formal event once the hall has been reopened," said O'Shea.

"We are not significantly worried about the building given the relatively low cost of strengthening and believe that this will be sorted quickly."

The hall has been assessed at 26 per cent of the new building standard.

The full engineers report stated that there was no need to change the building's occupancy, but O'Shea said the board of trustees believed the rating was an unacceptable percentage in terms of the perceived and actual health and safety of its staff and students.

"It would be irresponsible if we did nothing about it," he said.

The hall was closed immediately and would remain closed until the required strengthening work was completed.

O'Shea said the work was not extensive and would cost around $100,000, much of which would be paid by the Ministry of Education.

The school was applying for resource consent to do the strengthening and hoped the council would fast track the consent so work could be completed as quickly as possible.

‘O'Shea said the strengthening work would not take long and the hall could open within six weeks, but they were looking to juggle events booked events over the next two terms.

The school would not be able to hold school-wide assemblies without the hall, but would hold them for each year group in the school gymnasiums.

He said the school did not use the hall as much in the winter period, so it was better to fix the issue now before it would be needed for school prize-givings and holding exams.

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