Five months into the project, the work is on time and on budget, said Hastings District Council facilities and programmes manager Alison Banks. “We’re very pleased. The Opera House project is well underway and with a start about to be made on the Plaza, we can see real progress.”
The Plaza was closed this week, in preparation for rebuilding next year. That part of the project will be completed by the end of 2018, with the Opera House strengthening programmed to be finished by late 2019.
Hastings District Council last year approved plans to upgrade the Plaza to an all-weather facility after public consultation showed residents wanted a permanent weather-proof roof on it, rather than the current canvas cover. The project will also see the floor reconfigured to one level and the glass front wall replaced with double-glazing.
The demolition of the Plaza will start early in the new year, after which the site will be used to temporarily house the crane that will lift the steel beams for the new Opera House roof. Once they are installed, the work on the revamping of the Plaza will start, towards the end of May.
Work on the new sheer walls inside the Opera House will start after the Christmas break. Those walls will give strength to the original unreinforced brick walls.
The installation of a temporary ‘ceiling’ above the stage rigging gear will also start, in preparation for the removal of the old roof.
Mayor Sandra Hazlehurst said it was exciting to see the Opera House strengthening project proceeding at an excellent pace. “I know we are all looking forward to having our historic Opera House back in use.
“The improvements to the Plaza are also very exciting. This is going to give us a magnificent facility that will be ideal for conferences, large functions and events, balls, concerts and weddings – almost anything you can imagine. It is going to be truly multi-functional space that is a real asset for our district.”