History of the project – Te Hāpua: Halswell Centre

The Halswell Library closed on Saturday 3 October 2015 at 1pm. The new Te Hāpua: Halswell Centre opened Saturday 28 November 2015.

North view of new Halswell Library and Community Facility

More about Te Hāpua: Halswell Centre

A Whakawatea (a blessing and sod-turning) to mark the start of construction was held on Friday 11 July 2014.

Funding of $22.9 million was earmarked for the complex in the Council’s 2009–2019 Long Term Council Community Plan. The existing library, built in 1968, is located in an older building and is too small for present community needs. The building’s future has not yet been decided.

View of new Halswell Library and Community Facility

Why was Halswell chosen for a new library and community facility?
This is a planned facility to reflect the growth in the Halswell area. Rapid growth was underway well before the earthquakes and was identified in the South West Area Plan 2009. The need for a new library was outlined in 2008 in the Libraries 2025 Facilities Plan. Funding was set aside in 2009.
What will a new library and a community facility contribute to the Halswell community?
The new facility will contribute to the building of a strong community. The facility will give the community a hub – a focal point for residents and a safe and inviting place for people to gather. In addition, the current Halswell Library was built in 1968, and is outdated and undersized for present community needs.
Why is the library combined with a service desk and community facility?
The Council is moving towards combining libraries, customer service and community facilities as this is convenient for local residents and has some cost-savings for the Council. Similar facilities have proved popular at South Library and Shirley Library, for example.
The Council has been talking about this project since 2009 – why the delays?
Work to identify a suitable site and buy the land began in 2009 but was put on hold after the earthquakes in 2010 and 2011. Work resumed in 2012.
This is the first I’ve heard of it! Have you talked to the community?
Discussions with the community took place in 2012, to identify community needs and gather ideas. Workshops were held with community organisations and at schools and a drop-in session were held, attended by 46 people and 138 school students. A survey was distributed through various groups. We had 179 responses from individuals, families and organisations, with a high proportion from young people. This community input strongly shaped the current plans.
What are some of the community’s ideas you were able to include?
The community came up with many fantastic ideas and we were delighted we could include some of them in this project. They include:
  • An indoor play area for young children.
  • A café with outdoor views.
  • A place of social connection that builds community.
  • A specific area for outdoor community activities like markets and performances.
  • A large 250-300 person conference/performance/multipurpose space.
  • Capacity for dance and low-impact fitness activities.
Was there anything lots of people asked for that you couldn’t include?
There were some community requests for a gymnasium but the scope of the project and the priorities for the available space and budget meant this was not possible. However, the community rooms have been designed to accommodate low-impact exercise, dance and fitness classes.
The Council’s Capital Endowment Fund recently allocated money to Halswell School to enable them to extend their school hall to become a full court size and a facility to be shared with the community.
Ideas we have been unable to include in this project range from a graffiti wall to an equipment hire service. Some ideas cannot be included in this project but are planned elsewhere in Halswell, for example a skate park and 24-hour toilets.
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