Upper Hutt’s Central Library Building ready for reoccupation by early March 2019

At Wednesday night’s final meeting for the year, Upper Hutt City Council resolved to reoccupy the Central Library building once work is finished in late-February/early-March.  

UPPER HUTT, Wellington NZ, 20 DEC 2018—Upper Hutt’s much-loved Library service will be returning to its original location in late-February/early-March next year after seismic strengthening works are complete.

The decision to move back in comes on the back of Policy Committee recommendations and seeks to re-establish the full suite of services back into Upper Hutt City Libraries’ portfolio.

The Central Library building was vacated in early 2018 after an engineer’s report found the building was not up to appropriate structural standard for its designated public use. Works originally sought to rectify the issues discovered, bringing the building up to IL3 standard by mid December 2018. The scope of the work was extended to increase the rating to IL4 and upgrade the building’s heating, ventilation, and air conditioning system which in turn is expected to extend the period of work to late-February 2019. Once work is complete, the building will be one of the strongest and most resilient in Upper Hutt. The higher seismic rating also means that the building can now be used for a larger variety of activities going forward, such as a civil defence emergency operations centre.

“We’re looking forward to seeing the Library back to full-capacity at the newly upgraded space,” says Council’s Chief Executive, Peter Kelly. ”I want to commend our library staff who have been extremely dedicated to the services they have continued to provide throughout this whole process. The move back in will enable staff to continue their great work for library customers and the wider Upper Hutt community.”

Council is also exploring the option of relocating the Central Library in the future, to Main Street. Relocating to Main Street will increase foot traffic around Upper Hutt’s city centre retail precinct and contribute to the revitalisation of the area. There may be an opportunity to trial a location in Main Street later in 2019, but from late-February/early-March Council will have its current library facility available for use, so the decision to move back has been made. This will enable the library to restore its full services and save ratepayer money on renting a ‘pop-up’ space elsewhere.

Another upcoming resilience project will be the strengthening of Council’s Civic Centre building. This building is not under the same time-pressure as the Central Library was, and a trial move of the Central Library to Main Street, may afford Council some office space in the newly upgraded building while work on the Civic Centre takes place.