$16m centre work due to start

LOIS CAIRNS
Last updated 05:00 15/12/2012
 glass-sided visitors’ centre to be built in Christchurch’s Botanic Gardens

ANNIVERSARY GIFT: The glass-sided visitors’ centre to be built in Christchurch’s Botanic Gardens after Christmas.

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Contractors will begin work on building a $16 million glass-sided visitors' centre in the Christchurch Botanic Gardens after Christmas.

The multi-purpose visitor centre has been designed by Auckland architects Patterson Associates and will be built by the city council to mark the 150th anniversary of the Botanic Gardens.

About a million people visit the Botanic Gardens each year.

The new centre will include exhibition and display spaces, a multimedia seminar room, cafe, nursery, herbarium, offices and a library.

It will be built on the current nursery site. Lawn and riverbank areas at present inaccessible will also be opened up.

Leighs Construction will build the centre, which the council hopes will be finished by December next year.

The original budget for the centre was $10.3m, but post-earthquake changes to the design and escalating construction costs have pushed the price of the building to $16m.

At present, staff facilities within the Botanic Gardens do not meet the current building code, and the tea kiosk is closed because of quake damage.

The project has been on the council's books since 2009.

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- The Press

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