Libraries  |  20 May 2022

Rebuilding the quake-damaged South Library and customer services building will cost less than repairing it, investigations show.

The South Library Te Kete Wānanga o Wai Mōkihi, in Colombo Street, Beckenham, is the only library left in Christchurch’s network of 20 public libraries that has yet to be either fully repaired, or rebuilt, following the earthquakes.

In 2012 some temporary repairs were made to the building to strengthen it so that it could safely stay open, but there is still significant structural damage that needs addressing.

At this stage, Council staff estimate that repairing the South Library and customer services building will cost $26.6 million.

They estimate that rebuilding it will cost $24.9 million – a difference of $1.7 million.

On Thursday 26 May Council staff will bring a report to the Finance and Performance Committee seeking the Council’s approval to progress plans for a rebuild of the library and customer services.

Read the report on the South Library Te Kete Wānanga o Wai Mōkihi repair options.

Council Acting Head of Vertical Capital Delivery Brent Smith says investigations show a significant amount of work needs doing to address the damage from the earthquakes and to bring the South Library and customer services building up to modern standards.

“To repair it, we will have to replace the roof, three of the four external walls, the floor slab, the internal walls, and the building services systems. We estimate that these repairs will cost more than building an all-new facility,” Mr Smith says.

“Even setting aside the earthquake damage, the South Library building is nearly 20 years old and is due for some upgrading. It could be much greener and more energy efficient and the spaces inside changed to better suit the needs of customers and staff.

“Taking all those factors into account, we believe the best way forward is to rebuild on the existing site and that is what we will be recommending to the Finance and Performance Committee,” Mr Smith says.

The Council currently has $13.6 million of capital funding put aside for the South Library and Service Centre building so regardless of whether it chooses to repair or rebuild, it will need to allocate extra funding for the project.