The opening of a museum in Rotorua has been delayed whilst further investigations are undertaken regarding geotechnical and structural issues.
Initially expected to open in 2022, construction of the Bath House building is now likely to begin in 2022 with an opening time now penciled in for 2025.
Complex geotechnical and structural challenges requiring additional investigations mean the opening of Rotorua Museum Te Whare Taonga o Te Arawa, housed within the Bath House building, has been delayed.
Rotorua Lakes Council Group manager operations, Jocelyn Mikaere, explains taking the time to complete additional investigations now will ensure the best outcome for the well-loved facility.
“Rotorua Lakes Council understands the importance of this beautiful heritage building to our community and visitors,” says Mikaere.
“Whilst pre-construction work and extensive asbestos removal has been completed we are pausing construction while additional investigations take place.
“The Rotorua Bath House building is one of the most challenging and complex strengthening projects happening in New Zealand at the moment.
“As the design reached the most complex atrium area the challenge of strengthening a heritage building sited on geothermal ground resulted in buildability and risk questions. It is prudent to assess alternatives now versus continuing without adequate risk mitigations in place.”
Experts have been brought in to the project to assist in resolving a range of issues that have surfaced during the pre-construction phase that require further investigation and advice to inform the structural solutions for this building.
“It’s important that we have the best information to get the right solution for the complexities we are dealing with, such as 1908 unreinforced pumice masonry structures, a very heavy roof and challenging geothermal ground conditions,” explains Mikaere.
“We want to ensure that when the strengthening and restoration of this iconic building is completed, it will be a safe and much loved part of our community fabric for the decades to come.”
The Rotorua Museum team will be commencing its extensive engagement programme in the coming months, giving the community the chance to share stories, thoughts and views throughout the exhibition design process.
It is estimated exhibition installation will take approximately 12 months with Rotorua Museum Te Whare Taonga o Te Arawa now expected to open in 2025.
Once information from the geothermal and structural investigations is provided by experts, Rotorua Lakes Council will host several local update events to inform the community on the projects progress and amended timeframe.