16 Apr Sarjeant Redevelopment update: Redevelopment on hold on-site but ready to move
Breaking ground for the new wing of the Sarjeant Gallery was poised to start when the lockdown was announced. While all activity on-site is currently on hold, behind the scenes the project team is working with the main contractor to ensure a smooth return-to-work once restrictions are lifted.
Project director Gaye Batty says: “COVID-19 Alert Level 4 places essential business restrictions on the type of work that can be done in the building and construction sector. As we went into Alert Level 4 the floor of the existing gallery was being lifted, perimeter site fences were about to be installed, and excavation due to start after the blessing of the site planned for the end of March.
“Over the course of construction the project will employ dozens of subcontractors including concrete workers, steel workers, glaziers, electricians, carpenters and plasterers – to name a few. The trickle-down effect of spending in our community will help keep the cash flowing once we get the site up and going again.”When work recommences onsite work on-site, some ways of working will necessarily change such as additional health precautions and site entry restrictions to ensure the on-going safety of the workforce and delivery drivers.
Batty says:”It is anticipated there may be interruption to the supply of some key materials like the custom made stainless steel bars we plan to use to strengthen the original Sarjeant Gallery’s masonry walls that are manufactured in the UK. These delays are being factored into planning”
With much of the project funded by government agencies like the Provincial Growth Fund, the Sarjeant Gallery redevelopment project remains in a strong financial position to move forward. Having a guaranteed project of this size provides confidence and support for the companies involved and keeps the skilled workforce of Whanganui in the region.
Kym Fell, CEO of the Whanganui District Council says: “Council continues to stand 100% behind the Sarjeant redevelopment. The project will serve to bolster our community by being a source of work in the short term and a draw card to Whanganui for national visitors in the longer term”
This article also appears in the Whanganui Chronicle on Friday 17 April