Stadium stage downsize to cut costs

Southland Indoor Leisure Centre Charitable Trust deputy chairman Alan Dennis (left) and chairman...
Southland Indoor Leisure Centre Charitable Trust deputy chairman Alan Dennis (left) and chairman Acton Smith survey the building work at Stadium Southland late last month. Photo by Southland Express Files.
Stage five of the Stadium Southland rebuild project has been significantly downsized to save money.

But the acting chairman of the rebuild group says the expected $3 million saving may still not be enough to avoid a public appeal to help meet rebuild costs.

The stadium had to be rebuilt after part of it collapsed in a snowstorm in 2010.

Partway into the project, it was discovered the core block, which did not collapse, was only 30% of new building standards for earthquake risk. The Southland Indoor Leisure Centre Charitable Trust (SILCCT) asked it be strengthened and brought up to 100%.

The cost of the rebuild is around $43 million, although the trust still does not have a final insurance payout figure.

Stage five was to be a two-storeyed addition containing offices for stadium administration staff and a community sports house facility above for local sports organisations.

However, the rebuild project team decided this week not to proceed with those plans, acting trust chairman Alan Dennis said yesterday.

Instead, three or four administration offices would be built on a garden area on the north side of the walkway which links the stadium with the velodrome next door.

It was a ''very good, positive solution'', Mr Dennis said.

While the new offices had not yet been designed or costed, it was expected they could be built for ''less than $500,000'', whereas the cost of stage five was $3.5 million, he said.

''This fulfils most of our needs. We are being prudent and not spending money we haven't got, and I am sure people will be happy about that.

''There will be some revenue lost from the stage-five tenants ... but when we looked at it, the income from them would have been OK but would have in no way covered construction costs.''

For the past few months, the trust has said it may need to ask the public for about $1.5 million to meet the shortfall between total rebuild costs and funds in hand or funds anticipated.

Asked if the $3 million saving on stage five was enough to plug the gap, Mr Dennis said he would be silly to say that.

''There still might be a gap. We are not sure yet.''

Stadium Southland manager Nigel Skelt said yesterday, while he was ''naturally disappointed'' stage five was not going ahead as first planned, the decision was ''not unexpected'' given the extra money needed to strengthen the core block.

The stadium is expected to open in late November.

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