Civic buildings, Fergusson Drive; library, administration, arts centre, hall, leisure centre (H2O Xtream).
The administration building designed by architects Gabites, Alington and Edmonson, and construction began early in 1968; it was topped off on July 25, 1969, roofed by August 1969, and opened on September 27 by the Governor-General, Sir Arthur Porritt. The library moved into the new building from one at the western end of Main Street. The 90-kg bronze crest was made by A E Frampton Ltd, of Wellington and installed around May 1981.
Next came a civic hall, large enough for basketball and other games, and equipped with retractable tiered seating across the northern end; the first civic ball was held there in 1972.
A cenotaph replacing one at the Maidstone Park memorial swimming pool, with four war-memorial plaques, was placed beneath the council chamber in 1973; the cenotaph was later moved eastward onto a lawn, and crowned by a bronze statue of a veteran and his grand-daughter, while the war-memorial plaques joined other commemorative plaques on a wall facing the road.
The library was opened on 22 July 1978.
April 5; retiring chief executive Ray Tucker; the city urgently needed an indoor swimming pool, and then a cultural centre.
April 13; 40-page proposal from the Community Arts Council; either opposite the Civic centre or on the Community Gallery site, west of the civic centre.
June 14; 142 out of 422 submissions on the council’s annual plan were on the arts centre.
June 21; letter from Eric Brown (at one time president of the Art Society) in support.
July 19; Council bought 4027 square metres of land between Fergusson Drive and Criterion Lane; Upper Hutt Valley Community Arts Council advertisement thanking city councillors past and present, service clubs, and a list of 17 creative organisations for their support; the cultural centre was included in the city’s 1993 Annual Plan.
November 1; a taskforce of four councillors and four Community Arts Council members drew up a proposal for an Upper Hutt Community Arts Centre Trust; one third appointed by council, one third general public, and one third representing the arts community. It was approve by Council and $50 000 allocated, at a special meeting.
June 20; Woods Consulting Group appointed arts-centre project managers.
March 27; an initial timetable for the site opposite the civic centre gave a construction date of December 1998 The director of community facilities, Jenny Bentley, had recommended that she and fellow council director Lachlan Wallace manage the project ; the council’s policy and finance committee were opposed. A recommendation for funding for concept drawings, specifications and costings after a feasibility study would not be opposed.
April 10; Councl approved Jenny Bentley and Lachlan Wallace as managers, on the condition that design and financial experts be included in the team. Bob Lendrum declared an interest and left the room; Owen Anderson was on leave; the vote was 4-4, including he mayor; his casting vote tilted the scales.
October 9; Architecture+, who had been responsible for the conversion of the old Wellington Library into the City Art Gallery, were appointed.
July 2; a plan view and photograph of model of a single-storey (?) centre north of Fergusson Drive were printed; there was a tower over the theatre stage. The model was pictured with Anne Salmond, one of the directors of Architecure+ and Bob Clark, the Community Arts Centre Trust chairman. The building would cost $3.98 million, plus $650 000 for lighting, seating, etc. Completion might take 2-1/2 years; early 2000.
July 29; The city council voted $35 000 for a feasibility study recommended by McDermott Miller and Museums Aotearoa, who had audited the trust’s proposal.
September 20; a model of Option Three, with a multi-story arts centre against the Civic Hall was pictured, for public consultation.
The centre, named Expressions, was opened by the Prime Minister, Helen Clark, on September 1, 2003.
March 18; a 2022-2023 extension for a heritage gallery, workshop space, collection storage and a conference-grade kitchen were among proposals in a 16-page Council supplement on its ten-year plan, in the ‘Leader’; there was an article in the next issue, where alternative $1.26m and $1.6 m plans were mentioned; the latter included the kitchen. A study by Expressions director Leanne Wickham on development options would be completed in the next financial year.
In May the Rimutaka Sports Community Trust proposed a centre, to be located behind the Rimutaka Tavern; it would include a sports hall, heated indoor 25-metre eight-lane and learners' pools, gymnasium/martial-arts hall, weight-training bay, roller-skating hall, ballroom dancing/entertainment facilities, snack bar, and a softball diamond.
In September, a council-and-trust working party decided a civic-centre site preferable.
July 26; council planning committee recommended building a pool costing around $3.1 million after architects’ designs had been considered; and that the pool be the council’s only contribution to the sports complex, against acting chief executive Mr Pederson’s recommendation.
August 20; the trust’s members were sued by their architects, Whitcher Associates, over $53 00 of fees. The Trust argued that the city council had encouraged them, and should accept some responsibility. That dispute was still unresolved in February 1995.
January 31; Council printed a ‘Leader’ page of 11 cartoons of possible features such as a wave machine and water slides; sports groups had been sent questionnaires.
October 3; north-west colour view of the aquatic centre, with a partial plan of the complex; followed on October 17 by a complete plan and two sections, in colour. The project would cost $4 881 115; $2 500 000 would come from a loan, $1 635 515 from EnergyDirect share sales, $250 000 from private sponsorship, and $495 600 from other grants and funds.
June 26; Council calling for expressions of interest; Beca Carter Hollings & Ferner Limited, principal consultants, placed an advertisement in the July 3 ‘Leader’.
October 18; Ebert Construction Ltd tender accepted; cost $6.1 million. Rider Hunt cost surveyors had estimated $4.9 million.
October 25; mayor Rex Kirton was pictured excavating the first sod.
December 13; 72% of residents surveyed favoured funding the extra $1.2 million from the council’s cash reserves.
December 20; $982 000 would come from the property sales fund and $250 000from the surplus working capital fund.
January 24; the complex would get power from a gas-fired engine, with waste heat used to heat the pool. EnergyDirect would run the plant.
May 8; picture of concrete being poured into a column; Ebert Construction aiming for September completion.
August 7; the opening would be delayed. Debbie Stirling had been appointed manager, and was pictured with part of the building in the background; the roof was covered, but not the wall.
October 23; the centre would be opened by Governor-General Sir Michael Hardie Boys on December 12. Double Olympic gold medallist Danyon would visit on December 18 and 19.
November 6; pool fees set. Swimming club unhappy with fees, and hours available for club nights, and might have to disband. Maidstone Pool would close on December 8.
The aquatic centre opened on schedule; it was renamed H2O Xtream in September 1999.
A new 'Darkness Falls' waterslide opened on December 8, 2005; an attempt at a world record for distance over 24 hours was abandoned after one of the 10 staff tore some cartilage; they had covered 409 km in 5761 slides; the record was 753.96 km.
Mayor Rex Kirton receives Commonwealth Games official baton from cyclists Phillip Cantwell, Gavin McArthur.
Civic Centre design, April 1968; architect's drawing; council chamber, administration block, civic hall.
Civic Centre design, April 1968; architect's drawing; library, council chamber, administration block.
Administration building (1969); 3 main storeys, plus some basement, and mayor's parlour and council chamber in front, at second-storey level.
Civic hall (1972); large enough for basketball plus telescoping tiered seating at one end; originally with a supper room and kitchen by the south-east corner, and an entrance at the north-east corner.
Library (1978; originally housed in the administration building; the first stage of the current library was opened on July 22; later extended north and west, and southern entrance closed.
Leisure centre (1996), named H2O Xtream in September 1999; on the corner of Blenheim Street; 25-metre lane pool, hydroslide now 8 metres drop and 65 metres long; wave pool with paddler area, cafe.
Arts centre (2003); ground floor comprises art spaces and cafe; second storey, 200-seat theatre, with goods lift and facilities backstage; offices at front of building.