$30m repair plan for Arts Centre

CHARLIE GATES
Last updated 12:33 15/07/2011

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Christchurch Earthquake 2011

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A $30 million, three-year project to repair and strengthen the Clock Tower and the Great Hall at the Arts Centre could start in October.

Every historic building on the central Christchurch site was badly damaged in the February earthquake.

The Clock Tower has a large crack in the northern facade and the Great Hall has gable damage and cracked walls.

The Clock Tower, Great Hall and the chemistry building tower will be repaired and strengthened using the same method. Parts of the stone walls will be taken down and a new concrete wall will be built behind. The stone wall will be put back in place and pinned to the new concrete. Roofs and floors will be internally strengthened with plywood sheets fixed with metal fasteners.

Arts Centre director Ken Franklin said engineers had been working hard to come up with repair solutions.

"We are finalising the design concepts for those buildings," he said. "The computer modelling seems to be working."

The buildings would be strengthened to effectively 100 per cent of the new building code, Franklin said.

The project was subject to negotiations with insurance companies.

However, Franklin said he feared for the historic buildings in any future quakes.

"We don't have any intention to demolish any buildings on site," he said.

"The only thing that causes me uncertainty is the ongoing earthquakes.

"It is very hard to predict that nature of damage that comes out of them.

"Some of the more powerful ones seem to not create as much damage as you would anticipate, but smaller ones take you by surprise. That is what causes me uncertainty."

The June 13 aftershocks damaged many Arts Centre buildings, with some former tenants unable to retrieve possessions.

Engineers were close to completing a three- dimensional laser scan of the Arts Centre site. It would help engineers draw up repair solutions.

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- © Fairfax NZ News

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